Revealed: Saudi Arabia's plan to improve Hajj, Umrah experience

Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund set to launch company to lead major expansion around Makkah's Grand Mosque
Revealed: Saudi Arabia's plan to improve Hajj, Umrah experience
Muslim pilgrims prepare to circumambulate the Kaaba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Makkah on August 27, 2017, prior to the start of the annual Hajj pilgrimage. (KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images)
By Staff writer
Mon 02 Oct 2017 02:06 PM

Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) has announced it is preparing to launch Rou’a Al Haram, a development company set to increase capacity for pilgrims and visitors to the Grand Holy Mosque in Makkah performing Hajj or Umrah.

Rou’a Al Haram will act as a catalyst for developing the areas around the holy sites and raising the quality of services in the local hospitality sector, PIF said in a statement on Monday.

The company’s establishment is in line with Vision 2030, which aims to provide an opportunity for the largest possible number of Muslims to perform Hajj and Umrah, and to enrich and deepen their experience through the development of the two Holy Mosques, it added.

The number of people visiting Makkah is expected to reach more than 30 million by 2030.

The first phase of the company’s projects will cover an area of 854,000 sq m, delivering 115 buildings. A total of 70,000 new hotel rooms will enable the site to receive 310,000 visitors per day.

In addition, the first phase will see the development of around 9,000 residential units, 360,000 square meters of commercial space and prayer areas designated for more than 400,000 worshipers. The project will take place only 1,430 meters away from the Holy Kaaba.

PIF said that Rou’a Al Haram will raise the level of development in the areas surrounding the Grand Holy Mosque, making it among the best examples of development worldwide. In addition, it will support job creation and investment as part of a wider plan to diversify the national economy.

Initial preparation works are currently underway, with construction due to start in 2018. The first phase of the project is anticipated to launch in 2024.

The projects will create around 160,000 job opportunities by 2030, with an estimated annual contribution to GDP of SAR 8 billion.

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