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Egypt revokes licenses of 16 travel agencies over Hajj deaths

Egypt has revoked the licenses of 16 travel agencies after a number of Egyptian pilgrims died in Saudi Arabia this year without obtaining Hajj permits.

“A preliminary number of 16 travel agencies have been found to have defrauded and transported pilgrims irregularly and did not provide any services to the pilgrims,” a Cabinet statement said on Saturday.

“The Prime Minister has been tasked with quickly withdrawing the licenses of these companies and referring those responsible to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, in addition to fining these companies in favor of the families of the pilgrims whose deaths they caused,” the statement added.

Two Arab diplomats said earlier in June that at least 323 Egyptian pilgrims died while performing the Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca mostly as a result of heat-induced health issues.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi issued directives on June 20 to form a crisis cell, headed by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, to follow up on investigating the deaths of the pilgrims.


Visa suspended

A member of the General Assembly of the Egyptian Travel Agents Associations Basil al-Sisi announced that following the large number of heatwave induced deaths this Hajj season, one category of the Umrah visas has now been suspended.

The suspended category is the B2C Umrah visa, a type of electronic visa for Umrah created for those wishing to perform Umrah from outside Saudi Arabia without the need for an external agent.

In statements to Al-Masry Al-Youm, Sisi explained that “The 2024 Hajj season crisis is a result of the issuance of unregulated visas, and was a reason for stopping the B2C Umrah visa.”

He continued: “B2C visa allows its holder to enter the system, obtain the visa, and travel without a trip organizer, which is unacceptable after the Hajj crisis.”

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