Monday, May 7, 2018
Saudi Gazette report
JEDDAH — A study, conducted by a financial company expects the number of pilgrims to increase to four million in 2025 from 2.3 million last year. It said there will be SR200 billion worth projects to accommodate them.
The study, conducted by Al-Khabeer Financial Company, will be presented to Makkah Economic Forum that opened on Sunday and would continue for the whole year.
The company particularly lauded the new International airport in Jeddah which would annually accommodate more than 30 million passengers and also praised the other public transport projects including the Haramain Express Train linking Madinah with Makkah through Jeddah and Rabigh.
It said the train will transport more than a million passengers every year until 2022 and added that the Umrah pilgrims are expected to go up to 30 million by 2030 from their present number of about eight million.
Quoting official statistics, the study said the number of the pilgrims last year was 2,352,122 out of which1,752,014 came from outside and 600,106 were domestic pilgrims.
The study expects the rise in the number of the Haj and Umrah pilgrims to increase investment opportunities in Makkah especially in the hospitality sector and said many hotels and furnished apartments are expected to be built to accommodate the increasing number of the guests of God.
“The current improvements in the basic infrastructure, transport and communications will further reinforce Makkah’s position as an investment haven,” the study said.
It also said the expansion of the Grand Mosque was another basic factor to help making the holy city a feasible place for investments.
The study expects a number of international hotel chains to come to Makkah in the near future once Jabl Umm Ali housing project of constructing more than 10,000 housing units is completed.
It said the retail business, which has not so far been properly exploited, will also flourish.
The study said spending by pilgrims on commodities, foodstuffs and gifts will positively reflect on the exchange rate of the riyal.
“The Haj and Umrah companies and the tawafa establishments will benefit from the spending of the pilgrims in the local market,” it said.