Hajj and Umrah 2022: essential tips to avoid pilgrimage travel rip-off


Travellers looking to book Hajj or Umrah pilgrimages are being warned against fake deals and unlicensed companies putting their visit at risk. Over the years people have lost thousands of pounds through fake ‘pop-up’ travel deals that are either not licensed or do not exist.

Traditionally, around 25,000 British Muslims make the pilgrimage each year. The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted travel to the sacred site in the past two years, with Hajj only available for residents inside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2021.

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has now announced that Hajj 2022 will go ahead between July 7-12. Umrah pilgrimages are open to international travellers, with Hajj hosting one million pilgrims this year.

The Civil Aviation Authority is urging travellers to check carefully and make sure their pilgrimage is not ruined by booking through a disreputable company or individuals, or those falsely posing as reputable travel agents. By researching, using a trustworthy and reputable company, and checking for ATOL protection, pilgrims can travel safe in the knowledge that their trip is financially protected.

Anna Bowles, head of Consumer Enforcement at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said: “These trips have significant religious meaning, and we want to make sure consumers research who they are planning to book with and that financial protection is in place to avoid disappointment.

“We have seen people lose thousands of pounds in recent years because of scams and fake deals, and with a surge in travel to Mecca, it’s more than important than ever before for people to be vigilant. It’s also really important to check that your provider is ATOL protected, despite any recommendation you may receive from friends or family.”

Rashid Mogradia, of CBHUK (Council of British Hajjis), added: “With demand for Hajj 2022 expected to be higher than actual supply, we strongly urge British Muslims intending to perform Hajj to book with a UK-based Licensed Hajj Organiser who is directly licensed by the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and who holds a valid Air Travel Organisers License (ATOL).

“The organiser should have their own visa quota and pilgrims should get written confirmation that the package they have purchased includes a Hajj visa. In addition, the organiser must issue their customers with an ATOL certificate at the time of booking which will afford them the financial protection in the event the company goes bust.”

Hajj & Umrah travel tips:

Check for ATOL protection: Look for the ATOL logo on your travel company’s website, brochure or shop front. You can also look for an ATOL holder through our ‘Check an ATOL’ webpage. ATOL protection means that if your travel company goes bust, you’ll get support and financial help.

Dreaming of when you may be able to go on holiday again and where that might be? Want the latest travel and staycation news sent straight to your inbox to help you plan ahead?

Sign up here for regular updates on the latest travel advice, plus top destinations and wonderful places to stay post-Covid.

When you subscribe we will use the information you provide to send you these newsletters. Sometimes they’ll include recommendations for other related newsletters or services we offer. Our Privacy Notice explains more about how we use you data, and your rights. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Research your trip: Some companies will incorrectly claim to have ATOL protection. Check the company’s name on the online database at www.atol.org

Check if your package includes a visa : Appoint a licensed travel agent and ensure that they are arranging a visa as part of your arrangements.

Watch out for hidden costs : Make sure you check the airport and accommodation fees, such as baggage allowance and accommodation transfers, to avoid any surprises.

Check financial protection if booking with non-UK travel companies: There are some non-UK travel companies which offer Hajj travel to UK consumers, but these will often not be ATOL protected. Do your research and check what financial protection they provide.

For more stories from where you live, visit InYourArea.

Read More
Read More


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here