Saudi Arabia witnesses boost in tourism during 2016

Increased number of visitors and hotel occupancy seen during Hajj and Umrah season

January 05, 2017 - Elaf Group, a SEDCO holding company, and a leading provider of travel, tourism and hospitality services, has recently seen growth spikes in the tourism sector of Saudi Arabia during the Umrah season and the recent celebration of Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) birthday. This was evident in the increase of occupancy rate in hotel rooms across the country, signifying marked growth in hospitality operations in this time. The positive numbers complement the Saudi government’s initiatives of Vision 2030, which aims to increase the number of Hajj and Umrah pilgrims to 30 million annually. In line with this, recent tourism reports have reflected a five per cent rise in Umrah pilgrims, which is being predicted to grow by 30 per cent in the next three years.

During this period, there was a noticeable increase in the number of visitors that arrived in Saudi Arabia, and there was a heavy concentration of people who visited notable holy and religious sites. The visitors came from all over the world and were composed of different nationalities, all of whom came specially to immerse themselves in the rich, religious and cultural traditions that the Kingdom has to offer. Looking to address the expected surge in tourists coming for religious purposes, the country has already started construction for 35,770 rooms in 81 hotels, with 24,133 rooms being constructed in Makkah alone.

Ziyad Bin Mahfouz, CEO, Elaf Group, said: “We are happy to see the marked growth in tourism in Saudi Arabia during 2016. This spike in visitors showcases the country’s tremendous position as the world’s premiere religious tourism site and we continue to support this by providing the highest quality of services and providing innovative packages that will address the current market needs.”

Saudi Arabia’s government has always recognized tourism as a key pillar in its efforts to diversify its economy and move away from its dependence on the oil and gas sector. Religious pilgrims currently contribute 2 to 3 per cent of Saudi's GDP. In a bid to further enhance the sector, infrastructure projects to double the capacity and accommodate the number of both Hajj and Umrah visitors to around 5 million and 15 million respectively, are currently underway.

Elaf has always maintained its position as one of the leading providers in the Middle East Travel & Tourism sector, particularly specializing in offering religious tourism services and facilitating Hajj and Umrah for all pilgrims through key partnerships with notable hospitality organizations to ensure that the distinguished clientele is provided with unparalleled services.

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