Tourism sector records 10% rise

JEDDAH: Khaled Al-Subiani

Published — Monday 6 May 2013

Last update 6 May 2013 4:13 am

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Saudi travel companies have been strongly investing in the local market, especially during Haj and Umrah periods.
These companies are preparing to participate in the forthcoming Arabian Travel Market Forum 2013 that will be convened next month in the UAE, in which they will share experience and knowledge with their counterparts from other Gulf and Middle Eastern countries.
The Kingdom is witnessing remarkable development in tourism, achieving over SR 61 billion in tourism revenues in 2012, a 10-percent rise over 2011. Travel companies are now focusing on utilizing the opportunities available in the Kingdom, with predictions of religious tourism generating nearly SR 68 billion by 2016. 
Yusuf Abdullatif Jameel, chairman of the Abdul Latif Jameel Real Estate Investment Co., said his company will participate in the Arabian travel forum to exhibit its Anjam Hotel project that is part of a larger project (Jabal Alka’aba) that will be executed in Makkah. The 1,743-room hotel is the first of a series of Anjam Hotels and it will be opened by the third quarter of this year.
Jameel said the hospitality sector in the Middle East has the largest share of tourism revenues in the region and 46 percent of it will be generated from Saudi Arabia. “The Kingdom’s increased investments in infrastructure and expansion projects reflects its determination to attract larger numbers of tourists. One of the most significant projects is the expansion of Jeddah’s King Abdul Aziz International Airport that would be capable of accommodating up to 80 million travelers by 2035.”
Jameel said his company was expanding, adding that one of its largest projects, SR 10 billion Jabal Alka’aba (Ka’aba Mountain), was considered a “real contribution to the development of the city of Makkah.” It would enable the city to meet the increased demand for hotel rooms during Haj and Umrah. He said these hotel projects would add about 8,000 hotel rooms to the city’s hospitality industry in the coming years.

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