There are currently around 3.2 million Indonesians currently on the waiting list for Hajj. This statement was made by Joko Asmoro, the chairman of the Indonesian Muslim association for Hajj and Umrah travels. Being one of the largest Muslim countries in the world, with around about 220 million Muslims in the country, Indonesia is facing a huge demand from their citizens who are eager to perform the Hajj pilgrimage. The entire process, stated Asmoro, is requiring the people to have their name registered for a chance to perform Hajj well in advance in order to be included in the official Hajj list of the government.[irp]
Asmoro stated that the average waiting time for Hajj pilgrimage in Indonesia is currently at 37 years. He also further stated that the extremely long waiting time has caused an increase in demand for the Umrah pilgrimage. This he stated is far less expensive than the Hajj pilgrimage and does not have a waiting time which spans over several decades either. In accordance to Asmoro, there are currently 3500 travel agencies located in Indonesia. However out of these only 668 of them are currently authorized for the Umrah pilgrimage. There are currently four airlines that have been tasked with carrying the Umrah and Hajj pilgrims.
Asmoro further added that there also exists a VVIP Hajj Package where the pilgrims are made to stay in the five-star hotels. However, this category can only constitute up to 7 percent of the total Indonesian pilgrims. Only 17000 pilgrims choose the VVIP package as it usually costs around $ 8000. Mr. Asmoro had been speaking to a group of journalists at an iftar gathering that had been organized on Sunday by the Consulate of Indonesia in Jeddah.
The officials, accompanied by the vice consul for economic affairs Juman Nazar, briefed the journalists about the ongoing cooperation between Indonesia and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in a wide array of fields. When asked about the delay that the pilgrims of Hajj face at the airports in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Mr. Nazar stated that they are trying their best to arrange the schedules well in advance and have all of the documentation ready in order to minimize and ideally avoid any delay. Currently, there are 3000 officials working in shifts to make sure the entire process is smooth and efficient.[irp]
Speaking on the topic of runaway pilgrims, he stated that the issue is not a new one. He added that they are having strict procedures implemented in order to make sure that each and every pilgrim is registered. While answering a question put forward by the Saudi Gazette about the Saudi tourism in Indonesia, he added that the Saudi tourism has increased by 50 percent in comparison to last year. He added that they receive around 54000 tourists who stay for a duration ranging from one to three weeks. They are also expecting many more visitors. The Saudis do not follow the schedules provided by the travel agencies. They prefer to have their own special arrangements made.
Source: Saudi Gazette