The Gambia International Airlines has announced that this year’s hajj package is D420,000 for prospective Gambians, an increase of over D100,000.
The last Gambian pilgrims paid D311,000 in 2019 before the coronavirus pandemic.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has approved hajj for international pilgrims this year but with limitations.
The Gambia has been allocated a quota of 905 pilgrims, which dropped from the usual slot of 2000 for the country.
Due to Covid, the Saudi authorities restrict intending pilgrims over the age of sixty-five from traveling.
Intending pilgrims are also required to produce a Covid and yellow fever vaccination cards.
It is not clear when the Gambian contingents will depart for the Holy City.
The chairman of the National Hajj Commission, Dr Ousman Jah, said such information will not be released now as he is yet to meet commissioners, the line ministry and other stakeholders before divulging anything to the media.
The amir-ul-hajj added that once processes are followed and completed, he will disseminate to the public the relevant information.
In June 2021, Saudi authorities announced a restriction on the annual pilgrimage to 60,000 Saudi citizens and residents, because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
An even smaller number of Saudi citizens and residents was allowed to perform the hajj in 2020.
There have been frantic efforts at travel agencies as Gambians scramble for the 905 spots.