Umrah tour operators in Kashmir are grappling with subdued response this season with heavy hunch within the bookings.
As per information company—Kashmir Information Observer (KNO), that is even supposing the speed of Umrah package deal this 12 months is relatively Rs 10,000 low in comparison with the earlier 12 months.
Umrah is an Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca that may be undertaken any time of the 12 months.
Usually, the Umrah season, i,e from December to March, in Kashmir sees a surge in bookings and enthusiasm as religious Muslims embark on a non secular journey to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. Nevertheless, this 12 months has confirmed to be an exception, with tour operators going through sudden challenges which have resulted in a considerable decline within the variety of pilgrims.
As per the Umrah tour operators of Kashmir, only a few individuals have turned to guide Umrah packages this season.
“We’d usually get bookings for Umrah beginning in October. It’s December and we obtain only a few individuals who go for Umrah. From Srinagar, we obtain only a few pilgrims in comparison with the remainder of the valley,” president Jammu and Kashmir Affiliation of Hajj Umrah Corporations, Sheikh Feroz informed KNO.
He mentioned they witnessed a notable 50% lower within the stream of pilgrims in comparison with the earlier 12 months.
“We anticipate the general stream of pilgrims this season can be nearly 50 p.c much less in comparison with final 12 months. This 12 months, we’ve got bookings to some extent in January however it’s too low in February. We didn’t have sufficient advance bookings,” Feroz mentioned.
He mentioned the stream of pilgrims final 12 months was passable as the frenzy was the very best since Covid-19.
“Umrah companies have been affected throughout the pandemic. Final 12 months, there have been no restrictions and the stream of pilgrims was enormous. We’re nonetheless hopeful that reserving might enhance in February and March,” Feroz mentioned.
Lateef Ahmad, an Umrah tour operator, mentioned they’ve slashed the costs of Umrah this 12 months to draw extra pilgrims.
“Nonetheless the stream is just not on top of things. Put up covid-19 Kashmir noticed an excellent hike within the variety of pilgrims performing Umrah. This 12 months, it appears individuals are financially pressured on account of which the stream could be very low,” he mentioned.
Pertinently, a complete of 18 lakh Indian Muslims carried out Umrah in 2023 — the third highest on this planet, Saudi Arabia authorities officers earlier mentioned—(KNO)
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