CAIRO: The Ministry of Tourism is constantly communicating with Saudi Arabian authorities to solve the issue of the Umrah (Islamic small pilgrimage) visas, Minister of Tourism Hisham Zaazou said in a Tuesday statement.
Zaazou aims to quickly fix the problem of 50,000 Egyptians not being granted visas to help them to go to Umrah before the end of the season.
He called on Saudi authorities to find a solution for the crisis of Egyptians Umrah pilgrims in the peak season during the holy month of Ramadan.
Zaazou said that Egyptian officials appreciate Saudi authorities that are keen to take necessary measures to prevent overcrowding in Umrah.
He is following up on situation developments closely and assigned head of tourism companies sector Mostafa Abdel Latif to go to Saudi Arabia. Abdel Latif can find out the reasons behind travel agents not issuing visas for Egyptians without previous notice.
This is for the second year that Egyptian travel agencies and Umrah pilgrims are confronted with Saudi travel agents’ sudden decision to not grant Egyptians Umrah visas, Al-Ahram reported Egyptian Travel Agents Association said in statement as saying Sunday.
The association added in the statement that these decisions cause severe loss to travel agencies and denies thousands of Egyptians from performing the Umrah despite having finished the necessary procedures and payments to get their visas.
Association Vice President Naser Torki said these decisions do not respect the rules and principles of trade relations and he called for the need to commit to contractual agreements.
Torki said 75,000 Umrah pilgrims were not given visas despite finishing their necessary procedures.
Saudi authorities have their own conditions to guarantee Umrah visas, including denying the visas to people less than 17 years of age without relatives and women younger than 45 years of age without a Mehrem (male guardian), Al-Hayat reported Monday.