The world’s largest Muslim nation has told its citizens there is a nationwide ban on the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia this year.
Indonesia is still battling to contain the Covid-19 virus with travel restrictions still in place across the sprawling island nation.
It was expected to send nearly 250,000 pilgrims this year.
“This was a very bitter and difficult decision but we have a responsibility to protect our pilgrims and hajj workers,” said religious affairs minister Fachrul Razi.
Saudi Arabia hasn’t yet made a decision whether this year’s pilgrimage will take place which attracts millions.
Indonesia had mulled allowing half the usual number but decided against it as too risky.
It is a blow to the hundreds of thousands of Muslims across Indonesia on years-long waiting lists to do the Haj pilgrimage.
They generally spend years saving up to afford the pilgrimage.
Additionally, there are hundreds of specialist travel agencies that only sell Umroh and Haj packages and will see a big hit to their finances.
Flag carrier Garuda will also be heavily impacted.
Last year 10% of its revenue came from Haj charter flights.
It had bookings to fly 268 large groups of pilgrims to Saudi Arabia this year.