A pilgrim at Hajj in a file photo. Image Credit: Wikimedia

Cairo: Prices of trips from Kuwait to perform the Islamic pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia are expected to increase by up to 40 per cent this year after the quota allocated for Kuwait has been slashed, a local newspaper has projected.

Saudi Arabia has set Kuwait’s quota for this year’s Hajj at 3,622 pilgrims down from the pre-pandemic 8,000 pilgrims, Al Qabas reported.

Prices of Hajj journeys from Kuwait this year are anticipated to range from KD3,000 to KD4,000, an increase of around 40 per cent compared to previous seasons, the paper said.

Kuwaiti authorities will allocate 15 per cent of the country’s pilgrim quota to low-priced Hajj trips and will strictly monitor them to ensure compliance with declared services and obligate organisers to refund money for any lack of the contracted services, the paper quoted unidentified sources as saying.

Proposals made to bring Hajj prices under control, according to the paper, include picking Hajj organisers who offer “suitable” prices and services; subsidising such campaigns; scrapping non-essential services during pilgrimage; and making efforts to increase the share of lowed-price Hajj journeys.

Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia said it would allow 1 million pilgrims from inside and outside the kingdom to perform this year’s Hajj, after restricting the annual ritual to some thousands of Muslims living inside the country for the last two years due to COVID-19 outbreak.

Around 2.5 million Muslims from around the world used to attend Hajj in Saudi Arabia every year before the pandemic.

Eligible pilgrims this year must be under 65, fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and present a negative PCR test, Saudi authorities have said.