With thousands of British Muslims expected to attend this year’s Hajj pilgrimage, predicted to fall between 2 – 7 October, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is urging those travelling to Saudi Arabia to be fully prepared and follow up-to-date travel advice before embarking on their trip.
The Hajjis or pilgrims are advised to take out fully comprehensive Shariah compliant travel insurance and travel with a reputable tour operator. Cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus in people who have visited Saudi Arabia continue to be reported so getting the right vaccinations is critical as is travelling with the relevant vaccination card.
The Foreign Office, West Midlands Police and the Council of British Hajis are working together to support British Nationals undertaking the Hajj.
Sher Houston from the Know Before You Go team at the FCO said: “The annual Hajj pilgrimage is one of the largest gatherings of Muslims in the world. Despite the vast numbers, there is relatively little disruption and most pilgrims travel trouble free. However, as with all overseas trips, we strongly recommend that the necessary precautions are taken and the trip is carefully planned. We advise all British pilgrims to check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s travel advice and the requirements set out by the Saudi Government”.
Detective Sergeant Nadeem Hameed of the West Midlands Police said: “We are pleased to support and promote this campaign and recognise the importance of this religious pilgrimage and seek to promote safety awareness and safer travel among all pilgrims”.
Rashid Mogradia, CEO of the Council of British Hajjis said: “It is imperative that pilgrims seek good travel tips before they embark on a Journey of a Lifetime. As a council, we are actively supporting and promoting the FCO’s Know Before You Go Campaign and urge travellers to consult its travel advice pages before travel. We wish the pilgrims a “Hajj Al-Mabroor – An Accepted Hajj” and would like to extend our thanks and appreciation to the FCO’s Hajj support team who will be present in Jeddah and Makkah should anyone require consular support while in Saudi Arabia”.
The FCO will provide the full range of consular services and will be sending the British Hajj Team – a team made of regional FCO consular staff – to Saudi Arabia during the Hajj.
In addition to the requirements from the Saudi government, the FCO recommends that all pilgrims use the following travellers’ checklist:
Check the FCO travel advice
- Make sure that you are up to date with the current situation in Saudi Arabia at www.gov.uk/knowbeforeyougo
- Travel with a reputable tour operator
- Make sure that you book your tickets through an ATOL registered tour operator to avoid unnecessary difficulties. For more information please visit www.atol.org.uk Have contact details for your tour operator in the UK and their representatives in Makkah
- Get comprehensive travel insurance
- Ensure it covers all aspects of your journey
- Check health requirements
- Which vaccines do I need?
- When do I need to get them?
- Is there anything else I need to be aware of?
- If you require medication check that you have adequate quantities
- Check passport and visa are valid
- Do I need a visa, or to renew an existing one?
- Copy passport and travel documents
- Take a copy with you and store online using a secure storage site
- Leave copies with family and friends, along with your itinerary and contact details
- Research local laws and customs
- Country specific laws and customs can be found at www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
- Pack suitable footwear
- You may have to walk long distances and make sure you have all the necessary clothing and items as advised by your Hajj tour operator
- Make a note of Hajj Delegations contact details
- The Hajj Delegation and local consulate will be based at the Makkah Hilton between 4 – 18 October
If you have any enquiries for FCO consular staff before you go or while abroad you can ask questions via the FCO’s Twitter service @FCOtravel. Questions are answered 9am – 6pm BST, Monday – Friday and FCO staff aim to respond within 30 minutes. This service adds to the ways that British people travelling or living overseas can already get in touch with the FCO: by emailing the travel advice team or contacting local consular staff.
For further information please contact the Know Before You Go team on 020 7781 2342 or FCOTeam@consolidatedpr.com.
Notes to Editors
What can the FCO do for people who have problems when travelling abroad?
|The Hajj Team can:
||The Hajj Team cannot:
The FCO’s Know Before You Go campaign encourages British nationals to prepare for their foreign travel so they can avoid preventable problems. The campaign targets a number of audiences, from gap year students to package holidaymakers; sports fans to older travellers and people visiting friends and family abroad. The campaign works with more than 300 travel industry partners to communicate its messages. For more information visit: www.gov.uk/knowbeforeyougo.
The British Hajj Team can be contacted in the following ways:
- Tel: 00966 125 34 0000 (Hilton switchboard and ask for British Hajj Team)
- Mob: 00966 501 00 4268 (Available 24hrs a day)
 Approximately 20,000 pilgrims from Britain will be performing Hajj this year according to The Council of British Hajjis
First Published 15th September 2014