Pilgrims planning to go on the annual Hajj are being urged to only book licenced tour operators as restrictions were lifted for visitors.

Earlier this month the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said it will host one million pilgrims for the annual pilgrimage which is due to take place in July. 

Last year, only 58,745 pilgrims were permitted to perform Hajj, according to official figures. Before the pandemic, the number of pilgrims often exceeded 2.5 million and more than 25,000 people from the UK made the visit.

Every adult Muslim must visit Makkah and Medina for the Hajj at least once in his or her lifetime.

The increase will be according to the quotas allocated to countries, taking into account health recommendations.

Yasmin Qureshi MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hajj & Umrah said: “The Muslim Ummah has been eagerly awaiting the announcement for Hajj 2022 by the Saudi Ministry of Hajj.   This news will no doubt bring joy to Muslims all around the world who have sadly not been able to perform Hajj for the past 2 years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We commend the efforts of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for measures being taken to ensure the safety and security of pilgrims that it will be hosting.

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Rashid Mogradia, CEO of CBHUK, Secretariat to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hajj & Umrah said: “Demand for Hajj is expected to be high this year owing to a reduced Hajj quota and a backlog from the past 2 years due to COVID.   

"We strongly urge British Pilgrims planning to undertake Hajj to follow the guidance issued by the Kingdom and to ONLY book with Ministry of Hajj Approved – Licensed Hajj Organisers who hold a valid ATOL (Air Travel Organisers License) and to follow the FCDO Travel Advice”.

Altaf Arif a local Hajj Organiser from Nelson and founding member of Licensed Hajj Organisers (LHO) said, "Alhumdulillah we appreciate the efforts of the Ministry of Hajj & the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia who have shown amazing resilience and dedication to serve the guests of Allah Subhaana’Taala. 

"As UK Licensed Hajj Organisers it is now our responsibility to show the same commitment towards the Hajis by providing a safe secure framework to deliver a successful Hajj Season protecting the pilgrims Health & wellbeing whilst simultaneously ensuring they are financially protected too.

"In collaboration with the APPG on Hajj & Umrah, CBHUK and the Muslim Council of Britain, we are delivering the same message as the Ministry of Hajj that consumers purchase their packages from Ministry of Hajj Approved Licensed Hajj Organisers who hold an ATOL licence."