Hajj pilgrims face further confusion after new lottery system introduced
Many frustrated pilgrims who won the ‘Hajj Lottery’ under the new system recently introduced for the pilgrimage are now cancelling their journeys due to lack of transparency and skyrocketing prices on a newly launched website.
People have been reported suffering from ‘panic attacks, anxiety and stress’ due to the new system that was introduced through a website called Motawif, launched with the objective of offering a state-of-the-art booking system to the pilgrims.
Close to 12,000 people had booked the annual holy journey through licensed tour operators to Makkah in Saudi Arabia, which opened to British Citizens after two years. Due to the Covid pandemic, they had not been allowed to enter the country under the travel restrictions since 2020.
The new booking system for the Hajj, which is taking place in July this year has on the contrary, left people ‘confused’, drained and frustrated’. Motawif put up a post on Twitter on 20 June saying that they had “received a number of enquiries related to payment completion”.
A traveller mentioned their frustration and said, “We paid on Friday and the rest the following day. The money has been taken from our accounts but our booking shows ‘failed’. It’s been a nightmare many of us have fully paid and just getting a generic response is difficult. Many of us have work and family commitments that we need to take care of before departing yet with less than a week to go we are mentality drained.”
Another pilgrim who was looking forward to go said, “You don’t test a new system at the busiest time of year. They should have done this with the Umrah (lesser pilgrimage) first and then looked at asking for applications for the Hajj in 2023.
They added, “sssIn our case they kept moving the goalposts so we decided on Sunday to just not go. It is not worth the risk. It just doesn’t seem professional at all. We are not going to hand over a lifetime of savings to someone we cannot speak to and won’t answer our questions.”
Many were flabbergasted when they saw the prices online with one couple pointing out, “We saw the package prices available and we were shocked. A Gold package is £20,700 for two people with flights from London. If we want to go from Manchester then it comes in at a staggering £27,300 – that is £13,650 each! We are being priced out completely. Who is going to afford to pay that?”