Tourism Development Fund to co-finance SR1.3bn project in Madinah

Thursday, April 22, 2021

RIYADH — Saudi Arabia’s Tourism Development Fund (TDF) in cooperation with Riyad Bank will finance an SR1.3 billion ($346.7 million) project in Madinah aimed at capitalizing on the tourism potential of the holy city, the fund said in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency.

The fund signed an agreement on Wednesday with Knowledge Economic City and Riyad Bank to finance the development of "KEC Hub", a 68,000 square meter tourism complex in Madinah, making it among the biggest qualitative tourist projects in the holy city.

The multi-purpose project will include a five-star hotel that will be operated by a renowned world trademark, in addition to several tourist and entertainment facilities, shopping malls, restaurants and coffee shops, which will enrich the experience of tourists in the area.

TDF CEO Qusai Al-Fakhri noted that the finance offered by the fund to the Knowledge City Forum stands at 391 million riyals, pointing out that the bank has offered finance with the same value under the framework of a partnership agreement that TDF signed last year with the bank and other banks to finance tourist schemes.

Al-Fakhri said: “The tourism sector in Saudi Arabia has started to benefit from the fund’s partnerships with Saudi banks with the aim of providing financing solutions to investors in a way that can develop distinguished tourist projects in various regions of the Kingdom, which can help achieve the goals of the National Tourism Strategy that seeks to increase the contribution of the tourism sector to 10 percent of the GDP and generate one million jobs by 2030”.

He noted that the financial support offered by the fund to such qualitative projects attracts the attention of prominent investors and operators in the hospitality fields from around the world, which can indirectly contribute to attracting more investments in the future.

The CEO also referred to the pivotal role of TDF as a partner for investors in the tourism sector within the tourism development structure that includes the ministry, Saudi Tourism Authority, and Tourism Development Council, where TDF works in integration and coordination with other sides in the structure to empower companies of various sizes and enable business entrepreneurs to invest in profitable tourist projects.

Al-Fakhri also said that the fund’s missions are not limited to financing qualitative schemes through targeted capitals, but it also utilizes its partnerships with banks to provide proper finance solutions for investors in major projects, as well as providing financial and advisory support to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and business entrepreneurs, in addition to the TDF’s role in highlighting investment opportunities in various regions of the Kingdom and linking investors with global project developers and operators with the aim of increasing their contributions to the tourist development in Saudi Arabia.

He said that incentives offered by the fund include lowering the risk level of investors and lenders through guaranteeing a certain level of revenues, in addition to offering finances with competitive costs, quick transactions, and facilitating guarantees for investors to receive finances, where the fund works in an integrative way with the private sector to meet the needs of the sector and work jointly to reach proper solutions and projects.

He pointed out that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia today offers the best investment opportunities in the tourism sector, where all success factors are available, starting from enjoying the culture, heritage, geographical nature and diversified tourist options, through a secure and organized investment environment and reaching the distinguished support provided to investors, which reduce risks and increase investment effectiveness.

The Knowledge City Forum Project is located less than 6 kilometers away from the Prophet’s Mosque and it is easily accessible through the Haramain High-Speed Railway at the Knowledge City, which connects Madinah with Makkah in around 55 minutes through King Abdullah Economic City and Jeddah.

This qualitative project will benefit from the status of Madinah in the Islamic world, in addition to its being an international destination for tourism and heritage, especially that it ranked 23rd on the list of the Top 100 City Destinations for 2019 with around 9 million tourists according to the latest report issued by Euromonitor International before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Madinah is also considered an ideal destination for tourist investment due to its proximity to several fascinating tourist sites, such as AlUla Governorate.