It concerns eight companies: Amlex Travel, Alferdoos Reizen Stars Travel, Elfourssan Reizen, De Direction, Salsabil Travel, Stichting Al Manar Haj en Omra, Taoufik Reizen and Wadi Alrafidein Travel.
If these companies have not taken measures before 2 October 2020, such as joining a guarantee fund, they will have to pay fines of between €2,900 and €32,400 per week.
The pilgrimage to the Muslim holy sites of Mecca and Medina is important for Muslims. Many save years for the hajj (the great pilgrimage in a certain period of the year) or the Umrah (smaller pilgrimage that can take place all year round). A hajj costs an average of 5000 to 6500 euros.
ACM received reports that consumers would not be adequately protected if the travel company offering these trips went bankrupt. The pilgrimage is simply a package holiday, and then guarantees are required. In 2019, the authority launched an investigation into about ten providers.
“The sale of pilgrimages takes place through certain providers and often in the mosque. These travel providers are also subject to the rules that protect consumers in the event of bankruptcy,” says Edwin van Houten, Director of Consumers at ACM.
This year, by the way, Muslims from outside Saudi Arabia cannot make pilgrimages. Because of the Corona pandemic, the authorities keep the borders closed.
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