The Saudi Arabian government continues to invest billions of Riyals into various infrastructure and hospitality related projects in the Kingdom which is facilitating a construction boom, while also stimulating growth of the country’s hospitality industry, especially tourism for religious purposes. A total of 100 towers worth SAR 18 billion are currently under construction near the Grand Mosque in Makkah. Once all the projects are completed, the city will see the addition of over 24,480 hotel rooms, apart from other infrastructure facilities. On the other hand, the King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah, the closest airport to Makkah, is undergoing a capacity expansion from 12 million to 14 million passengers per year. Additionally, SAR 62 billion is being invested for the Makkah Metro project to cater to the requirements of the steadily increasing number of tourists visiting Saudi Arabia for religious reasons.
This and various other infrastructure projects in the Kingdom are in turn creating new opportunities in the hospitality industry, especially for many private sector players who are involved in several hospitality-related construction projects. Among various major developments taking shape in Makkah is the Jabal Al Kaaba project which will deliver 1743 hotel rooms during the second quarter of 2013 through the “Anjum Hotel” alone, which is rapidly nearing completion and represents 7.3 per cent of the total new hotel accommodation capacity that will be offered in Makkah. It is worth mentioning that upon completion of the whole project an additional 8,500 rooms will be added, through the cluster of hotels under the “Anjum Hotels” brand which represents 34.7 per cent of the total capacity. Currently the entire structure of the “Anjum” hotel is complete, with finishing and interior works set to begin shortly. The company behind the Jabal Al Kaaba project, Abdul Latif Jameel Real Estate Investment Co (ALJREIC) will be selecting the interiors of the hotel to reflect the Saudi Hijazi culture, while also complementing the overall elegance and international standards of the hotel.
Yousef Abdul Latif Jameel, Chairman, ALJREIC, said: “Our current focus is on the timely completion of the Anjum Hotel, which is the flagship hotel of our ‘Anjum Hotels’ brand. A hotel of this scale will be a welcome addition to the holy city of Makkah, which is set to receive more than 13 million Muslim travelers going on Hajj and Ummrah by 2019, up from 3.8 million during the last two years. We are also keen on complementing the government’s development plans throughout the country and key projects such as the various construction projects, the expansion of Jeddah International Airport and the Makkah Metro, among others. We also endorse the directions of the Saudi Commission for Travel and Antiquities (SCTA) as well as the wise directions of the Custodian of the two Holy Mosques, H.R.H. King Abdullah.”
Mahmoud Mokhtar, Chief Operating Officer of Abdul Latif Jameel Real Estate Investment Co., said: “Every detail of the construction and the interior design of the hotel are closely monitored by the management to ensure that the project is on schedule and also to meet the highest standards of quality. The guestrooms, lobby, reception and concierge areas as well as other hotel facilities are almost complete. In the coming few months we will be putting final touches to the hotel ahead of its opening in the second quarter of next year.”
As per the construction schedule, “Anjum” Hotel, the first phase of the “Jabal Al Kaaba” project, was supposed to reach 91.89 per cent completion in August 2012, while it actually reached 90.73 per cent, which clearly shows that the project is progressing at an excellent pace, with just 9.27 per cent left to be completed over the next 6 months. The ongoing completion process achieved a rise from 84.76% to 90.73% in a course of 5 months only, from April to August 2012. It is also worth noting that the scale of manpower for the hotel was increased from 302 to 932 in less than 9 months.