Jump to content

The Umrah pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia marks the revival of international travel for Malaysian Muslims

Recommended Posts



In order to restore borders for both inbound and outgoing tourism, countries in the region are taking cautious moves.
CNA looks at how Malaysians are going about their long-awaited Umrah pilgrimages in the first part of a series.


Halimah Norhan's travel to Mecca and Madinah, the Muslim holy towns, has been long delayed.

In June 2020, the 47-year-old made a reservation with a travel agent to undertake Umrah, a minor pilgrimage that can be performed at any time of year.


She was compelled to postpone her vacation after paying a deposit of roughly RM2,000 (US$481.85) because to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has halted abroad travel in many nations around the world.

Putrajaya declared earlier this month that Malaysians who are completely vaccinated will be able to conduct Umrah beginning October 18.

Malaysian citizens will be able to travel abroad without having to request for authorization from immigration authorities under the MyTravelPass scheme, according to Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.


Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has prohibited international travel in several countries around the world, she was forced to postpone her holiday after paying a deposit of around RM2,000 (US$481.85).


Malaysians who have been fully vaccinated will be eligible to perform Umrah commencing October 18, according to Putrajaya.


According to Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Malaysian citizens will be allowed to travel abroad without having to seek permission from immigration authorities under the MyTravelPass scheme.


"With God's help, we'll be there in November," she continued.

During the pandemic, the MyTravelPass scheme was implemented to limit outbound travel for non-essential reasons such as tourism.

Now that Malaysia's immunisation rate has surpassed 90% for adults, Malaysian nationals are free to travel abroad for pleasure.

However, this is contingent on a number of conditions, including whether foreign nations are prepared to admit Malaysian tourists on a tourist visa.


Because the Malaysian government has not established a travel bubble or vaccinated travel lane, tourists are confined to countries that are prepared to let visitors through without quarantine, such as Canada, the United Kingdom, France, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia.

According to travel industry insiders interviewed by CNA, the largest demand for overseas travel right now appears to be for Umrah packages in Saudi Arabia.


"Many Malaysians are Muslims, thus religion is a significant aspect that would inspire people to travel," Abu Fadzil, head of operations and customer service at travel operator Asian Trails, told CNA.
When Malaysians decide to travel, this is usually one of their top considerations."

Professor Kashif Hussain of Taylor's University in Malaysia, a tourism expert, agreed.


More than 60% of Malaysians are Muslims, according to him, and conducting Umrah will be a top priority for them now that leisure travel is permitted.

"People are mentally exhausted from the constant lockdowns, and they want to go to Mecca and Madinah for leisure (and for the sake of) their mental and spiritual health," said Kashif, who spent 25 years in Saudi Arabia.


"They want to thank God that they are alive and well," he said, adding that countries like Saudi Arabia have gained confidence in their ability to safely handle guests.

Other leisure trips will have to wait for now, according to Halimah, who will be on her long-awaited trip in mid-November.

"In the midst of the pandemic and these trying times, I believe it is more necessary than ever to conduct Umrah, to thank God for providing my family and myself health, and to pray that humanity overcomes this virus soon," she said.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...