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The Vanishing of "Empires" of Hajj missions and companies

السبت - 25 يناير 2020

Sat - 25 Jan 2020

I had a dialogue with a VIP pilgrim, who initiated me with a surprising question saying: Despite the fact that I am financially capable man, don't you think that 130,000 Riyals is a huge amount as a cost for pilgrimage? For people who will stay in the Kingdom between 7 to 10 days only! I replied to him: “Before answering your question، do you know that there are pilgrims of your own citizens who pay around 220,000 Riyals?. It is expected that your Hajj mission has already deluded you to understand that the entire amount is expenses and payments paid to entities inside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia!

This is expected, but I am sure that you as businessperson who has a special vision and analysis to what you are witnessing. How did you miss thinking of the assets and properties owned by the Hajj mission which took you to the holy land?! Did you wonder, how did the Hajj mission's 'owned' location become a skyscraper? How come a Hajj mission owns computers factory?! In addition to owning a big share in cars factory?! Moreover, owns here and there hotels and estates! Did you know that the amount deducted for services provided to you from the moment you arrived to the Kingdom, until you leave is just about 10% to 15% out of the 130K you paid, excluding flights and accommodation?

If we included the air fares and accommodation expenses into the amount again to clarify the whole picture. Assuming airfares cost 25,000 Riyals and accommodation 35,000 Riyals for 8 days. Then, where is the rest of money? Go ask the Hajj mission! This goes not only on VIP pilgrims, the same thing goes on other economy classes, where the real expenses are literally only nickels and dimes in comparison to the same services 'accommodation, food and transportations' in remote countries.

This is not only in your country, Hajj missions in other neighboring countries, are doing more than that and uglier. I remember, 15 years ago, a Hajj mission was negotiating with a pure Meccan man, saying to him: "we agreed with you that the building's rent is 800,000 Riyals, and we would like to increase it to 1.5 million Riyals, In exchange for this (raising the rent) the 1 million will be for you!" The pure man replied: "O God, enrich me with your Halal instead of your Haram", this was the saying, for the deed.., the building was rented to another Hajj mission (May God bless him).

There Hajj mission’s role is very important in organizing Hajj, and what I expect and demand is what I meant by the topic "Demise of ... Empires". Here comes the role of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah as transparency of services and its expenses is the only solution to return Hajj missions to their main organizational role, not the investment and economic one! A transparency that will make Hajj missions and companies face to face with pilgrims and block the path on the corrupt and manipulative people.

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, via its old and new online platforms, will play a vital role in demising such empires, However, it remains for them to market these platforms globally, and show it to the end user/the pilgrim, at least to see if such platform applying the B2B business model.

What has been mentioned here was just a tip of the iceberg. Most Hajj missions and companies make huge profits from this pillar of Islam. What makes me really sad personally is attributing the high and exaggerated prices of Hajj to my country, while it is not true.

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