Muscat: A total of 14,000 pilgrims — 13,500 Omanis, 250 Arabs and 250 non-Arabs — will be visiting Mecca this year to perform Haj rituals, the Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs has said.
26,000 Haj applications had been received from both Omanis and non-Omanis.
Oman’s official Haj delegation, consisting of representatives of religious guidance, administrative and financial delegation, supervision of Haj companies, medical delegation, and media, will fly on July 28.
Sheikh Sultan bin Saeed Al Hinai, Head of the Omani Haj Mission, said the ministry had approved 85 companies to transport pilgrims this season.
This figure includes 79 companies for carrying Omani pilgrims and three each for Arab and non-Arab pilgrims.
Most of the Haj pilgrims (88.2 per cent) are in the age group of 18-60, according to ministry figures.
65 per cent of pilgrims will fly by air and 35 per cent will travel by land
In terms of the average financial cost of the pilgrimage, those travelling by air will pay OMR1820 compared to OMR1,758 last year, while it costs OMR1,146 by land, compared to OMR1,143 last year, according to ministry figures.
The total value of contracts between pilgrims and Haj companies stands at OMR22 million.
Al Hinai said: “The ministry signed an agreement with the Ministry of Haj and Umrah of Saudi Arabia, which included rules of joint work and the provisions of organising pilgrim travel.
“The Ministry of Haj and Umrah in the Kingdom confirmed the commitment of the Omani Haj Mission and the pilgrims of the Sultanate for their performance and cooperation in complying with the regulations governing Haj affairs in the Kingdom.”
He added: “The Omani Haj Mission signed a coordination memorandum followed by the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the Ahlia Foundation for the Pilgrims of the Arab Countries, which included mechanisms for joint action in facilitating and ensuring care and services for the pilgrims in the Holy Land and Arafat camps.”
The Mission adopted a list of additional services provided to the pilgrims of the Sultanate with the National Organisation of the Pilgrims of the Arab Countries, with an appendix describing the details of the services in the Mina and Arafat camps.
courtesy: Times of Oman