Religious tourism is set to grow in Saudi Arabia as the number of pilgrims increase year by year for festivals such as Umrah. This has led to plans to many new hotel openings in the kingdom.
Saudi Arabia is expected to have a steady stream of new hotel openings over the next five years amid a jump in pilgrim numbers as part of its 270 billion riyal (Dh264.43bn) National Transformation Plan.
The kingdom wants to increase the number of Haj pilgrims to 2.5 million by 2020 from 1.5 million and more than double Umrah pilgrims to 15 million from 6 million, according to the plan revealed last week. Saudi Arabia also wants to boost tourism spending by two-thirds to 174.8bn riyals from 104.8bn riyals.
“Although currently there are no definitive plans available regarding where the additional revenue will be spent, we expect that the priority targets will include expansion of tourism infrastructure in the country, training Saudi workforce to participate in the growth of this sector, and developing and upgrading tourism facilities across the country,” said Rashid Aboobacker, the associate director at TRI Consulting, in Dubai.
New Investment Required
The plan envisages raising the number of hotel rooms and apartments by about 40 per cent to 621,000 from 446,000.