20:38 / 08.08.2023

Gov't decision: Umrah services will be provided only by local tour operator 

Additional license requirements and conditions for providing Umrah services are being introduced to tour operators.

Photo: Kun.uz

The government decision "On additional measures to effectively protect the interests of pilgrims in the organization and conduct of Umrah events" was adopted.

The license for implementing tourist activities related to the provision of services related to the organization and holding Umrah events is considered a separate activity of the sub-type of outbound tourism, and this activity is determined to be carried out only by a local tour operator.

The following additional license requirements and conditions for the provision of Umrah services of the outbound tourism subtype of the tourist activity license are introduced:

• setting aside not less than $100,000 in the Safe Tourism Fund of the Tourism Committee;
• appointment of specialists with religious knowledge and skills on the basis of the contract concluded with the Muslim Board of Uzbekistan as group leaders of pilgrims during Umrah services;
• in the state of the tour operator providing Umrah services, the presence of at least one specialist who is a graduate of a republican educational institution in the fields of religious (Islamic) education or the relevant bachelor's degree or master's degree of the International Islamic Academy of Uzbekistan;
• no provision of Umrah services to minors;
• implementation of Umrah services in accordance with the contract to be signed between the partner organization in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

On the basis of the application of a tour operator providing Umrah services, the following procedure will be introduced to attract a specialist of the Muslim Board of Uzbekistan to pilgrims as a group leader (ellikboshi):

• the specialist's service related to guiding groups of pilgrims is provided free of charge, his travel expenses (transportation, hotel, food, insurance, visa fees, etc.) are covered by the tour operator providing Umrah services;
• according to the request of the specialist tour operator, it is allocated by the Muslim Board of Uzbekistan in 3 working days;
• a group of no more than 50 pilgrims is assigned to 1 group leader.

From October 1, 2023, a rating system will be introduced for the performance of tour operators providing Umrah services.

Additional license requirements and conditions will apply from November 1, 2023, and they will not be charged the license fee and state license fee when renewing a license.