Swiss-Belhotel International (SBI) has announced its first property in the holy city of Makkah with the signing of Swiss-Belhotel Al Aziziya Makkah in Saudi Arabia. Featuring 525 rooms, the upscale four-star property is owned by Cardamom International Property Management LLC and is strategically located in the rapidly expanding hotel hub of Makkah, only a few minutes’ drive away from Al-Masjid Al-Haram in Al Aziziya. The hotel is expected to be ready for opening by the second quarter of 2018.
Included in the hotel’s 525 rooms are a good mix of rooms for groups and families tailored to meet the market needs. The hotel will also feature a restaurant, a lobby café and extensive banquet facilities.
Making the announcement, Laurent A Voivenel, senior vice-president, Operations and Development for the Middle East, Africa and India, Swiss-Belhotel International, said, “Saudi Arabia is a key development market for us and we are proud to debut in the Holy City of Makkah with this outstanding project. We are truly grateful to Cardamom International Property Management for giving us this fabulous opportunity. With its prime location and excellent facilities, Swiss-Belhotel Al Aziziya Makkah will offer a distinctive hospitality experience to pilgrims when it opens its doors early next year.”
Saudi Arabia currently has the most hotel rooms under construction in the Middle East and North Africa, with 36,742 keys in 85 projects. Makkah is one of the biggest hotel markets in the Kingdom, with 27,000 rooms (compared to 11,000 in Riyadh and 9,400 in Jeddah).
The Saudi 2030 Vision recognises the role religious tourism can play in diversifying the economy with religious pilgrims currently contributing 2 to 3 per cent of the country’s GDP. There are plans to roughly double the capacity to accommodate both Umrah and Hajj visitors to around 15 million and five million respectively by 2020.
In addition to massive development of hotels, the Saudi government is investing in major transport infrastructure to grow tourism such as the new Jeddah airport (to open in 2018) and the Haramain High Speed Rail line (2018) linking the holy cities of Madinah and Makkah via King Abdullah Economic City, Rabigh, Jeddah, and the new Jeddah airport.
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