Makkah real estate foresees a SR3 billion loss this Haj

Updated 15 August 2014

Makkah real estate foresees a SR3 billion loss this Haj

The Haj housing sector in Makkah is likely to lose SR3 billion this year as a result of a 20 percent government-ordered reduction in the number of foreign pilgrims, said Mansour Abu Rayash, chairman of the real estate committee at the Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI).
Abu Rayash blamed the deficit on ongoing expansion works, regional unrest and the Ebola virus.
This year’s SR3.5 billion revenue is 45 percent less than last year’s profits, said Abu Rayash.
The sector is expected to fully recover, however, once the Grand Mosque expansion is complete. In fact, around 2 million foreign pilgrims are expected to perform Haj in 2016, increasing demand for hotels and accommodation in the holy city, he told Arab News.
“Another source of loss was the recent ban on pilgrims coming from African countries, such as Sierra Leone, in the wake of the Ebola outbreak and the ongoing political crises plaguing the Arab world,” said Abu Rayash.
He also blamed Haj companies and tourism agencies for causing tremendous losses to building owners and investors.
“The average Haj pilgrim spends SR2,500 on housing. Pilgrims who stay around central Makkah pay anywhere between SR4,000 to SR7,000, while worshippers who are lodged further away will pay between SR1,000 to SR2,500. Many of these rooms surprisingly remain vacant until now.”
Mazen Darrar, a realtor in the Makkah housing sector, expects pilgrims to pay on average SR3,000 for housing during the upcoming season.
The prices of five-star hotels differ depending on the services they offer. Pilgrims who stay at luxury hotels can end up paying more than SR25,000, but they are few, he pointed out.
Darar said several contracts will likely be signed in coming days between realtors and foreign tourism companies since many of these companies have begun booking accommodation for their customers ahead of the busy season.
Tawfik Al-Suwaihry, another investor in the sector, also said that there was a decline in real estate prices this year compared with 2013, especially because of the decrease in the number of foreign pilgrims.


King Salman receives closing statement of the Science Group Summit

Saudi Health Minister Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, right, receives the closing statement of the S20 group from its chair Dr. Anas bin Faris Al-Fares. (SPA)
Updated 29 September 2020

King Salman receives closing statement of the Science Group Summit

  • The closing statement of the meeting included 10 recommendations, which will be submitted to the G20 heads of state

On behalf of King Salman, Health Minister Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah on Monday received the closing statement of the Science Group Summit (S20) from the group’s chair, Dr. Anas bin Faris Al-Fares, who is also the president of King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology, after a virtual meeting.
Several scientific organizations from the G20 countries took part in the meeting, which was hosted by Saudi Arabia. The S20 group focuses on future health, a circular economy and the digital revolution. The meeting stressed the importance of making decisions based on scientific facts supported by data.
The closing statement of the meeting included 10 recommendations, which will be submitted to the G20 heads of state. More than 180 scholars participated in drafting the recommendation. They called for increasing the level of preparedness in the wake of a pandemic. They also recommended consolidating advanced treatment and precision medical research with a particular focus on keeping the costs affordable and treatments accessible to all.
The group also stressed the need to devise policies to face challenges arising from demographic shifts. One of the recommendations includes development of an integrated approach to the extraction of natural resources.
They also urged the relevant authorities to consolidate recycling systems to curb carbon emissions.