Makkah is poised to become one of the world’s leading religious hospitality and tourism destinations as Saudi Arabia boosts tourism efforts and aims to enhance the Umrah and Hajj experience for pilgrims, according to industry experts.
The Holy City is expected to witness a growing hotel supply through 2018, according to Colliers International’s Q1 2016 Saudi Arabia Report, driven in part by a growing demand from affluent religious travellers for world-class service.
“The sacred city’s momentous historical sites, such as the Grand Mosque and the Kaaba, as well as significant pipeline projects in Islamic arts and culture, including the recently announced 5,600 square meter Makkah Museum, will offer visitors a host of rich experiences,” said Ismail Sirry, general manager of Conrad Makkah.
“The objective for the majority of travelers to Makkah is to take part in Umrah or Hajj, and because the Holy City receives millions of pilgrims every year, ease of access, convenience, safety, and comfort are top concerns for visitors. This is driving a transformation in Makkah’s tourism industry, one characterized by an overhaul of the traditional approach to hospitality,” Sirry added.
Figures from Saudi Vision 2030 show that in the last decade, the number of Umrah visitors entering the country from abroad tripled, reaching 8 million people. And with ambitious plans by to increase the number of Umrah pilgrims to 15 million by 2020, and 30 million by 2030, the Kingdom is focused on redefining tourism and hospitality in the Holy City.
“Developing intuitive services and a supportive infrastructure at both hotel and city levels is central to this effort,” says Sirry. “The biggest challenges visitors face in Makkah are related to access and capacity, but significant government projects, such as the expansion of the Grand Mosque, and the development of the Haramain High Speed Railway and the Makkah Mass Rail Transit System, will soon resolve many of these issues. However, that same seamless traveler experience then needs to be carried through at a hotel level.”
The recently launched Conrad Makkah is one of the few hotels in the Holy City to offer direct access to the Al Haram via 12 elevators to the religious site, enabling pilgrims to seamlessly reach the Sacred Mosque during peak prayer times. The hotel also offers an on-site Masjid for up to 1,000 guests with audio connection to Al-Haram.
Guests staying at the stunning 438-room facility can receive luxury service the moment they land at the airport, with a private car equipped with Wi-Fi, food, and refreshments, available upon request to transport them to the Holy City. Located in the Jabal Omar development, the hotel also offers private access via a route that is exclusive to guests staying in the district, circumventing roads congested by traffic, and enabling effortless access to and from the property.