unprecedented Losses due to Global Pandemic 2020 on Hajj & Umrah Business Industry - JK News Live

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Sunday, April 12, 2020

unprecedented Losses due to Global Pandemic 2020 on Hajj & Umrah Business Industry

Srinagar, April 12 (KNS): Our downturn starts from Lockdown on 5th of August 2019, when the entire industry was busy in Operating and managing Hajj in Saudia. We the Tour Organizers of J & K got caught in extremely vulnerable situation when we were with groups in Saudi Arabia . Every organization irrespective of nature of work while in operation needs to have flawless support system . Leaving aside Internet and phone services , imagine the situation when we were not even having Banking facilities.
A statement issued to KNS reads Several groups were supposed to leave on 5th and 6th of August, it was complete chaos and confusion. Friends and relatives of Aspiring pilgrims were left with pain and depression , instead of happiness and celebrations, they were left with apprehensions of uncertainty and ambiguity about this life time Journey. people somehow managed to reach airports. Most of the aspirants are old aged and usually depended on their families about arrangements of travels , weather packing of their baggage or arranging cash for them . But this time they didn’t get time to do all these arrangements and responsibilities shifted to organizing companies with obvious and uncontrollable reasons.
When travel groups in general and Hajj & Umrah Travel group’s in particular reach any foreign destination , first thing after Passport Control , customs and Baggage collections their first and preferred Rendezvous is Cellular Companies for procuring Mobile Sims to get connected with there near and dear ones. But this time nothing such has happened as we all were knowing by then that we may not be able to connect back home. we somehow managed to perform Hajj though with severe difficulties, without any support system from our back offices, without financial support which is essential part while organizing Group Tours . 
After completion of Hajj, first thing we do is to make advance bookings with Airlines International/Domestic, Hotel Bookings and Renewal of Umrah Licence with Ministry of Hajj (KSA) and many other arrangements for upcoming season. This time we couldn’t do anything because of lockdown and disruption of phone and internet services. Come December when things slightly ease out , their were limited movements of people in markets . People approached Umrah companies for Umrah Packages and as most of us have made packages on assumptions as we were not having any access to prevailing market due to internet Disruption. on purchasing Tickets both international and domestic for upcoming months we were caught between devil and deep sea. The cost of tickets have gone all time high , without having done any advance preparedness for upcoming season we had to face heavy losses while purchasing these tickets and even we had to pay extremely higher rates for accommodation leaving us in heavy debts this year .
COVID19 was the last nail in coffin, 1st March 2020 Kingdom of Saudi Arabia put all Umrah activities on halt. Groups supposed to leave on and after 1st March were told to cancel the tour. All advance bookings were cancelled and simultaneously all advance purchase from service provided for upcoming months got cancelled thus leaves us Penney less. Our next hope of business was Ramadan, but few days before Saudi Arabia including other Countries world wide are extending lockdown making it obvious that we have lost this opportunity too. Now we have Hajj which is yet to come , some days before I called one of my service provider and asked his observations regarding Hajj , he reminded me one important aspect of Saudi Authorities precautionary measures . Every year all Hajj / Umrah aspirants worldwide are told submit a valid vaccination certificate with a Quadrivalent (ACWY) meningococcal vaccine administered no less than 10 days prior to arrival to Saudi Arabia. So in that case how is it possible Saudis will allow more than 2.2 million people to come inside their country without having Vaccine for CORONA . Therefore it seems Hajj May be another and biggest tragedy of COVID19 besides Human losses.

It is Hajj operation which is feeding us throughout the year , especially for our establishments , Salary’s to our staffs and other necessary expenses incurred. KCC&I in its Loss report in the month of November 2019 have made assessment of loss to this Industry around 200 Crores. Since then there has been many more developments which have added to this loss many folds and now by PANDEMIC losses will be unbearable. Entire industry is on verge of Closure due to these losses and will leave thousands Jobless and in critical situation .
We urge to the Government that this sector needs to taken care off , measure to save Industry from being unhealthy to Death . Steps to save thousands from getting jobless which will creat imbalance in society. Our major issues and challenges are 
1. Rents of our Premises 
2. Salaries of our Staff 
3. Taxes, Levies and Compliance’s 
4. Electricity and Water Bills and
5. necessary Establishment costs
To keep Industry on breathing mood we need 10% to 20% of our Annual Turnover as capital infusion.
World wide people in general and business community in particular is looking towards their respective Governments. All these stimulus , financial and economical packages are not any favor to the people . during good times people pay to their government in shape of Taxes and other charges to make nations float and Governments run , similarly during these rough times which is worst ever in last century, Governments have duty to payback to the people to keep them surviving. These governments of the day need not to do it as favor or goodwill, but duty with Compassion, Empathy and feeling for humanity (KNS)

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