Ministry of Islamic Affairs, on Tuesday, extended business permits for a period of one year, for travel agencies facilitating travel for the Islamic pilgrimage of Umrah.
According to the ministry, the extension granted on the two-year permits was a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which hindered opportunities for companies to arrange travel for individuals seeking to partake in the holy journey.
This year, the fear of spreading infections caused Saudi Arabia to bar foreign visitors from attending this year's Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages.
Hence, the move then forced travel agencies to provide a refund to their clients. Given the large demand for Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages, many of these travel arrangements would be booked far in advance.
Each year, a large number of Maldivians attend the pilgrimage, which roughly costs over MVR 36,000 per person.