Cabinet Cancels Licences Of 16 Travel Companies After Death Of Over 600 Egyptian Pilgrims

(MENAFN- Daily News Egypt) Egypt's Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly cancelled on Saturday the licences of 16 tourism companies and referred their officials to the public prosecution for alleged facilitation of unregistered pilgrims' travel through unofficial means.

The Cabinet stated:“Sixteen tourism companies facilitated travel of pilgrims through illegal means, and did not provide any services to them. Hence, the Prime Minister decided to cancel their licences, and refer them to the public prosecution.”

This came during a meeting in which the report of the Technical Secretariat of the Crisis Management Cell was reviewed, which indicated that the increase in deaths of unregistered Egyptian pilgrims is due to some companies organizing Hajj programmes as personal visits, which prevents their entry into Mecca, and this is circumvented by evading along desert paths on foot, without providing decent accommodation, causing pilgrims to be exposed to high temperatures.

A source said that the number of Egyptians who died this Hajj season reached at least 658, of whom 630 did not have Hajj permits.

Madbouly said, during the meeting, that the total number of the Egyptian official delegation exceeds 50,000 pilgrims, adding that the conditions of the official delegation are being monitored throughout the day by the relevant officials, and the numbers of irregular pilgrims have also been monitored and counted because there is no registered data about them in the relevant ministries or the consulate, or the medical mission.

Moreover, the committee recommended coordination with the Saudi side to provide facilities to the families of the victims and patients. The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities to monitor violating tourism companies and takes legal measures against them and considering the possibility of violating companies paying fines for the benefit of the families of victims, and referring the matter to the Public Prosecutor to take the necessary legal measures.

The committee also recommended coordination with the Saudi side regarding DNA analyzes of the unidentified deceased to match them with their eligibility in Egypt, and follow up on medical cases in Saudi hospitals and discuss the possibility of returning them to Egypt once their health condition stabilizes. In addition, the committe recommended developing mechanisms to grant visit visas of various types through coordination with the Saudi side and the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs before and during the Hajj season to prevent the accumulation of unofficial pilgrims inside the KSA.

The committee stressed reviewing entry visa lists for Saudi lands, ensuring that BARCODE is issued through tourism companies, and taking the necessary legal measures against violating companies. The recommendations also included studying the amendment of some articles of the Tourism Companies Law No. 38 of 77 and its amendments to tighten controls on the procedures of tourism companies implementing Hajj and Umrah programs, ensuring that they do not violate them, and defining their responsibilities.

The committee called on citizens to commit to performing Hajj rituals through the official framework in place in the country, warning against resorting to unofficial methods that put lives at risk. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also appealed to the families of any person missing while performing Hajj rituals to contact the hotlines designated for rapid response around the clock.


Daily News Egypt

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