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Travel agencies protest Awqaf Ministry’s Hajj company

By Ahmed Bani Mustafa - Jan 22,2018 - Last updated at Jan 22,2018

Travel agents protest against the establishment of a travel company by the Hajj Fund affiliated with Awqaf Ministry in Amman on Sunday (Photo by Ahmed Bani Mustafa)

AMMAN — The Jordan Society of Tourism and Travel Agents (JSTA) on Sunday organised a protest against the establishment of a travel company by the Hajj Fund affiliated with Awqaf Ministry, a JSTA said.

Dozens of Hajj and Umrah travel agents took part in the protest in front of Parliament. 

Protestors demanded the cancellation of the company, which they described as "illegal", and to transfer the administration of the sector to another institution instead of the Awqaf Ministry, JSTA Secretary Kamal Abu Diab told The Jordan Times.

JSTA includes 709 travel agencies, of which 235 are specialised in organising Hajj (the greater Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca) trips, said Abu Diab, adding that "the decision will destroy the sector, which supports 100,000 Jordanians".

Abu Diab listed six demands from the association including the cancellation of the company, having the association as the only organiser of Hajj and umrah trips in cooperation with the Awqaf and the Tourism ministries, forming a committee from the association and the relevant ministries to monitor trips' prices.

The demands also included urging Awqaf Ministry to contact the Saudi Arabian authorities to exempt Jordanians from the 2,000-riyal umrah fees.

The association also demanded the cancellation of the pre-payment for Hajj registration worth JD200. 

JSTA  demanded a meeting with Prime Minister Hani Mulki to explain the sector's challenges.

In recent remarks to The Jordan Times, JSTA President Mohammad Samih said that private travel agencies, which employ “hundreds” of Jordanians, will not be able to compete with a government-owned company that has a "much larger capital collected by Hajj Fund from pilgrims".

 

An official from the ministry, who preferred to remain unnamed, said that the ministry has made no announcement on the issue yet.

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