Investors in Makkah’s pilgrim housing facilities expect 90 percent occupancy in the first 10 days of the holy month of Ramadan when hundreds of thousands of faithful from all over the world arrive to perform Umrah and take part in special night prayers.
Hotels outside Makkah expect an occupancy rate of 60 percent in the backdrop of a substantial hike in the number of Umrah performers this year following the completion of expansion work at the Grand Mosque. Hotel prices are likely to go up 20 percent during the peak season compared to previous months.
Marwan Shaaban, chairman of the National Committee for Haj and Umrah, said many hotels in the city had started marketing their products and services for Ramadan months in advance, offering different prices for the three 10-day portions of the holy month.
The package price for a room in the first 10 days is between SR18,000 and SR40,000, depending on the hotel category, quality of services and proximity to the Grand Mosque.
“About 85 percent of hotels in the central region of Makkah have heavily marketed their packages and they expect 100 percent occupancy during first half of the month itself,” he told Al-Madinah daily. Hotels outside the central area expect an occupancy rate of 80 percent, he added.
Salim Al-Matrafi, who has investments in several hotels, said the occupancy rate in the central region would start with 75 percent to reach 100 percent by the middle of Ramadan. He attributed the growth in occupancy to increasing numbers of Umrah pilgrims coming from abroad, in addition to citizens and residents coming from other parts of the Kingdom.
“We the investors in the hotel and hospitality sector expect 100 percent occupancy during this Ramadan to compensate for losses suffered in the past years,” Al-Matrafi said.
Faisal Al-Sharief, director of Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTNH) in Makkah, spoke highly about hotels and other housing facilities in the holy city.
“We have licensed 893 hotels and furnished apartments in Makkah. Among them 491 hotels and 72 housing units are currently operating,” he said. There are 27 five-star, 25 four-star, 159 three-star and 97 two-star hotels in Makkah.
“Hotels in Makkah have a total of 157,868 rooms and can accommodate more than 1.89 million visitors while residential apartments provide 13,691 rooms with a capacity for 164,000 guests a month,” Al-Sharief explained.
He said hotels and furnished apartments in Makkah together can accommodate more than two million pilgrims monthly. Among the 104 furnished apartment buildings in the city four are classified as second class and 22 third class.[Source: Saudi Gazette]