Hajj pilgrims warned about fraudulent travel firms

Thousands of pilgrims planning to attend Hajj in Saudi Arabia are being warned about the dangers of booking with fraudulent or disreputable travel companies.

The advice to the estimated 25,000 Hajj travellers from the UK came today from Abta amid estimates that they will be spending up to £125 million on their travel arrangements.

Every year sees individuals paying for travel arrangements that are sub-standard, or in the worst cases, non-existent, leaving victims out of pocket by thousands of pounds, according to the travel association.

With large sums being paid for specialist Hajj flights and accommodation arrangements, pilgrims need to be aware of the dangers of booking with disreputable travel companies.

Hajj takes place this year between September 9-14.

Abta financial protection director, John de Vial, said: “Every year, fraudsters target pilgrims travelling to Saudi Arabia for Hajj.

“Large sums of money can be at stake as flights and accommodation are at a premium due to massive demand.

“Fraudsters play on the fact that pilgrims are often not aware of the strict regulations in place governing the sale of package travel arrangements in the UK.

“In other cases, even when travel arrangements are provided, they are of a much lower standard than promised and in the worst cases the arrangements simply do not exist and pilgrims are left with no course of redress.”

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