Hajj: Saudi Arabia increases Nigeria’s tour operators from 10 to 40

The Saudi Arabia Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has increased the 2024 Hajj slots of Tour Operators from 10 to 40.

This development came following the Federal Government’s demand for an increase in the 2024 Hajj tour operators.

In September, Saudi Arabia announced that only 5% of each Hajj-participating country’s Licensed Tour Operators would be permitted to conduct the 2024 Hajj exercise.

This means that Nigeria will only have 10 slots.

However, the federal government unrelentingly engaged the Saudi Ministry over its course of promoting indigenous entrepreneurs as a tool in sustaining the country’s socioeconomic development.

Responding to the request, the Saudi Ministry in charge of Hajj and Umrah reverted the decision in Nigeria’s favour.

Consequently, the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, in a press statement released on Sunday night, in Abuja by its assistant director of public affairs, Fatima Usara, disclosed the development.

Usara revealed the criteria for screening the earlier announced 110 qualified tour operators.

The criteria used in selecting the initial 110 tour operators included capacity of operation; years of experience; historical antecedents, and clean bill of operation.

The commission noted that the top 40 scoring by a seven-man team of experts were adjudged to qualify and were consequently approved after the evaluation of each operator’s ability, experience, and quality of services.

The Commission urged the remaining 70 that have qualified (from the 110 earlier approved) to consider aligning with the qualified 40 in the discharge of this religious obligation.

It assured that, as a stakeholder, it was desirous of ensuring that this partnership was entrenched even before the issuance of letters of approval.

In the principle of inclusivity, the Commission announced that it will soon hold a meeting with the overall 110 qualified operators to explore avenues of synergy to ensure all parties are carried along amicably.

(Punch)

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