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Bucks Muslims urged not to make Hajj bookings

The annual pilgrimage is due to take place at the end of July but people are being urged not to make travel plans yet as travel restrictions continue and scammers target bookers.

Published by Scarlett Bawden-Gaul at 1:27pm 4th May 2020. (Updated at 3:12pm 4th May 2020) 3-minute read.

Bucks Muslims urged not to make Hajj bookings

People planning to book travel for this years Hajj are being warned not to. 

Each year 25,000 UK Muslims travel to Mecca every year to take part in the Hall pilgrimage, however many including those in Bucks are being asked to pause any plans.

The sacred journey is one every Muslims should make at least once in their lifetime, it they are physically and financially able to. 

However, this year it is being advised that people hold off on booking travel arrangements amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

With countries at different stages of the outbreak and travel restrictions still in place there are concerns the Hajj may not be able to go ahead. 

Saudi Authorities have suggested people delay plans to visit Mecca until there is certainty it will go ahead, the Umrah pilgrimage has already been suspended.

People with current travel bookings are being advised to avoid making any further installment payments if possible, until future travel restriction information is released.

However, there are also specific warnings about scammers targeting people looking to travel for Hajj.

Action Fraud have issued the following guidance to anyone wishing to make Hajj bookings for 2021, or when travel advice changes:

  • Do your research - Don't book without carrying out some basic checks on your travel company
  • Make sure your travel company is a member of a recognised trade body, such as ABTA
  • If you are booking a flight based package make sure your travel company is ATOL (Air Travel Organisers' Licensing) protected by the Civil Aviation Authority
  • Get everything in writing
  • Do not pay the travel company by cash or direct bank transfer into an individual's account

Isobel Darby, Cabinet Member for Communities said:

"Each year there are a very high number of scamming incidents related to Hajj bookings so I would also encourage people to follow the advice set out by Action Fraud. I would also urge everyone to follow travel advice issued by the Government and to refrain from making Hajj bookings until further guidance is issued. Anyone who has an existing booking should avoid making additional payments where possible"

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