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Passion Islam I June 2009 LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS I 9
Beware dodgy Hajj tour
operators to Makkah
British Muslims planning to travel to Since meeting with tour operators to ensure your arrangements are
Makkah this year for Hajj and Umrah and pilgrims’ groups last year, ATOL protected so that you don’t lose
pilgrimages have been targeted by applications to the Civil Aviation out if the company you’ve booked with
conmen in the past and there’s no Authority (CAA) from Hajj tour goes bust. On the CAA website you
reason to think this year will be any operators seeking an Air Travel can check that your Hajj tour operator
different. is ATOL protected.”
Which makes this latest warning Any firm arranging flights as part
from consumer Affairs Minister of a package must have an ATOL,
Gareth Thomas timely. which ensures that payments are
With the average cost of a round- protected if the company goes bust.
trip at £2,500, Gareth Thomas has Travellers will be refunded, or can
written to mosques and community finish their trip and be flown home
groups to highlight the risk of scam if they are already abroad when the
artists. company collapses.
“People are entitled to get what After the collapse of Luton-based
they are paying for and this is tour operator Go4 Hajj last year,
even more important in the current pilgrims were refunded £270,000
economic climate,” he said. from the firm’s ATOL protection.
“Tour operators should have an Organiser’s Licence (ATOL) have Pilgrims who find fault with aspects
Air Travel Organiser’s licence (ATOL) doubled. of their Hajj travel arrangements
which means they are covered by The CAA’s Deputy Director of should contact their local Trading
industry-wide regulations which Consumer Protection, David Moesli, Standards Department for advice
will ensure that pre-payments are said: “Every year tens of thousands of when they return home.
protected and, in the event of a tour British Muslims travel to Saudi Arabia Contact details for trading
operator going bust, flights home are for Hajj. standards offices are available from
guaranteed.” “If you are one of these it is important Consumer Direct on 08454 04056
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