Tourism Ministry to review eligibility of travel agencies managing umrah pilgrimage

KUALA LUMPUR: The Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry will review the eligibility of travel agencies involved in organising umrah travels.

Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing said this is due to complaints lodged by umrah pilgrims who have been duped by travel agencies despite the implementation of strict action against these errant companies, such as revoking their licence.

He said his deputy, Khairul Firdaus Akbar Khan, will lead the review committee and present the complete report within a month.

"This includes identifying companies that conduct their business well and those who do not in addition to detailed reports of the records of these companies in handling umrah pilgrims.

"This is to ensure travel companies to be more responsible in conducting business and not neglect their clients," he said in a statement yesterday.

Tiong said the ministry would also resolve other issues about prices and application procedures, which could be done through the ministry, before handing the matter over to the relevant travel agencies as part of the efforts to reduce costs.

"Travel agencies, old and new, must report every activity involving their clients throughout their umrah journey to the ministry for close monitoring and to ensure that they fulfil the promises they have made to the clients," he said.

The ministry will pay a courtesy visit to Saudi Arabia's Ambassador to Malaysia and its Minister of Haj and Umrah to discuss the quota.

"If the ministry is given this responsibility, a committee will be set up, led by the deputy minister to manage this matter (umrah quota) rather than giving it directly to travel companies to ensure that our country's umrah pilgrimage process can run more smoothly, transparently and responsibly," he said, adding that this is also to prevent incidents of fraud from recurring.

He reminded umrah travel agencies to give the best service to their clients and warned them against marketing and offering services that they cannot provide. --BERNAMA

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