Authorities in Madinah are faced with the pressing issue of constructing 500 hotels within the span of five years to avoid a hospitality crisis.
Madinah is expected to attract 1 million visitors per month upon the completion of the expansion work at the airport and the Prophet's Mosque, according to a board member at the Madinah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI).
"Around 33,000 visitors come to Madinah everyday, which amounts to almost 1 million tourists per month.
According to these figures, we will have a serious predicament unless we prepare ourselves in advance," said Abdul Ghani Al-Ansari, the MCCI member. Al-Ansari explained that the authorities have two options to tackle this issue: To rapidly finalize the compensations of the expropriated properties from around the mosque and set a mechanism to ensure that the compensation money is used to build new hotels.
The other option is to establish four or five companies, using the funds that would be allocated for the compensations, making the owners of the expropriated properties investors in the hospitality projects.
He also revealed that 20 out of 214 hotels, which lie around the circumference of the Prophet's Mosque, will be demolished for smooth construction of the expansion projects. Madinah has 17 percent of the total number of hotels in the Kingdom, in addition to 30 furnished apartment units, according to a report issued earlier by the MCCI.
Madinah has nine five-star, 11 four-star and 44 three-star hotels. While there are five furnished units ranked as second tier accommodations, and 10 units categorized as third class in the city.