A Bangladeshi aspirant pilgrim will have to spend a minimum of Tk 3,61,800 to perform hajj this year under private management, around Tk 17,000 more than the previous year.
Hajj Agencies Association of Bangladesh (Haab), a platform of private hajj tour operators, yesterday announced its "general category" hajj package rate at a press conference at a city hotel.
With affordability in mind, HAAB, however, has also introduced "super economy package" for the first time, which hajis can avail at a cost of Tk 3.17 lakh, M Shahadat Hossain Taslim, president of HAAB, said at the press conference.
The hikes in airfare by Tk 10,000 and visa fee by Tk 7,000 have mainly contributed to the increase in total expenses, Taslim added.
Apart from the two rates, private hajj tour operators will be able to announce special hajj package based on quality of service and accommodation of pilgrims.
"But no hajj agency will be allowed to announce hajj package below the minimum rate of Tk 3.17 lakh to ensure minimum service to intended hajis," said the HAAB chief.
The HAAB president said that the hajj packages were categorised according to the distance of the pilgrims' accommodations from Masjid al Haram.
HAAB said intended hajis under general package will get accommodation within 1000 to 1500 metres of the boundary of Masjid al Haram while a pilgrim under super economy package will get accommodation facility beyond the distance of 1,500 metres.
In 2019, an aspirant pilgrim had to spend a minimum of Tk 345,800 to perform hajj under private management.
The Haab chief also said every pilgrim under private management would have to pay an additional Tk 12,000 for a Qurbani coupon from the Islamic Development Bank in Saudi Arabia.
Earlier on February 24, the cabinet approved the Hajj Package-2020, under which a Bangladeshi wanting to perform hajj will have to spend Tk 4.25 lakh for package-1 and Tk 3.60 lakh for package-2 -- under government management, which is Tk 6,500 and Tk 16,000 more than the corresponding packages of the previous year.
Considering affordability, the government also introduced package-3 for the first time, which hajis can avail at a cost of Tk 3.15 lakh.
As per an agreement between Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia, a total of 1,38,198 Bangladeshis will be able to perform hajj this year. Of them, 17,198 will perform the ritual under government management and the rest under private management, according to government data.
The registration of prospective hajis will start from March, said the HAAB president.
Depending on moon sighting, the hajj is likely to be held in July 30.