Jabal Omar Development Company plans to open ten hotels in Saudi Arabia’s holy city of Makkah, its executive general director told Bloomberg.
The firm, established to invest US$3.2bn in Makkah, is developing 2.2m sqm of land near the Grand Mosque, said Sameer Al Quraishi.
“Saudi Arabia is aiming to increase the number of people who are allowed to perform the annual pilgrimage,” he told the newswire.
“It’s also mostly trying to accommodate more religious visitors and that will surely increase demand for hotels,” he added.
Hotel operators Marriott International, Hyatt Hotels, Hilton Hotels and Sheraton will manage properties on the development, said Al Quraishi. The US$5.3bn project will include 38 hotels, managed by 28 companies and will add 13,500 rooms to Makkah’s hospitality industry once complete in five years.
Islam’s holiest city plays host to more than 10m pilgrims throughout the year and around 3m attend the Hajj, one of the world’s biggest religious gatherings.
The number of tourists is expected to rise to almost 14m by the end of the decade as the kingdom develops its local infrastructure as it moves to create more jobs for its nationals in the hospitality industry.
Hoteliers Hilton Worldwide, Marriott International and Hyatt International in May signed a deal to operate 12 hotels in Makkah. Fairmont operates two hotels in the kingdom, the Raffles Makkah Palace and the Makkah Clock Royal Tower, which opened in September.