Free Umrah package for singles in Riyadh
Various centers across the Saudi capital have arranged free Umrah trips to and from Makkah for singles working in public and private sector establishments.
Beginning Wednesday, there will be around 50 luxury coaches ferrying pilgrims from Asian and Arab countries on a weekly basis during the holy month.
“Program beneficiaries are mainly singles from Asian and Arab countries,” said Moulavi Ramzan from the Dawah center in Riyadh, adding that accommodation, transport and meals for breaking the fast will also be provided. Muslim expatriates living alone in the capital and its suburbs are entitled to this free package.
“We only focus on people who cannot afford to perform Umrah,” he said. Others who wish to participate in the program will also be considered for travel.
Expatriates from the Philippines, Nepal, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, Eritrea, Syria and Egypt have already applied for travel on Wednesday and Thursday.
Meanwhile, private Sri Lankan and Indian tour operators are organizing Umrah trips for families at modest and competitive rates.
“Trips cost a mere SR150 for a three-day tour to Makkah and SR200 for a five-day pilgrimage to Makkah and Madinah,” he said.
“We have made Umrah packages easily affordable to ensure that every family gets a chance to participate in the pilgrimage,” said Ramzan.
Pilgrims going on the free service will leave on Wednesday return on Friday, while others who go on Thursday will return to Riyadh the following day.
A leading hotelier in Makkah said that foreign pilgrims are less compared to last year thanks to factors such as the World Cup and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).