By Beatrice Thomas
Investors hope surge in figures will help them recoup some of their losses last year due to expansion work
Makkah’s hotel occupancy has risen to more than 90 percent around the central area of the Grand Mosque, raising hopes among investors that they will recoup some of their losses from last year, it was reported.
A total of 1.7 million people have come on Umrah since the season opened in December, the Arab News reported.
Last year pilgrim numbers were slashed by 20 percent, because of expansion work at the Grand Mosque.
Hotel investor Fahd Al Withinani told Arab News that the strong start to the season this year was likely because Umrah firms and individuals were more aware of limits on pilgrim numbers.
Another investor Mazen Drar said investors now hoped to make up for last year’s losses.
Al Withinani said pilgrims came from inside the Kingdom, GCC countries and Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Jordan, Egypt, Algeria and Sudan. There were fewer pilgrims from Iran, Iraq and Lebanon.
Another investor, Awaid Al Fahmi, said many Saudis opted to spend the mid-term school vacation with their families in Makkah this year.
A room overlooking the Grand Mosque costs SAR1,000 ($267) a night, while rooms without a view are about SAR700 to SAR850. Prices in areas around Mahbas Al Jin and Al Azizia ranged between SAR400 and SAR600/night.For all the latest travel news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.