The tourism industry has accounted for 3.2 per cent of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s total GDP in 2011, as well as 7.1 per cent of non-oil GDP and 11.8 per cent of private sector GDP, according to recent figures released by the Saudi Tourism Information and Research Center (MAS). The total value of the tourism industry in 2011 was estimated to reach SAR 59.5 billion, increasing by 6.8 per cent from SAR 55.7 billion in 2010, and is forecast to further increase in 2012 driven mainly by an expected 5.3 per cent increase in inbound tourists reaching 18.42 million this year.
To support the sustained growth of the tourism sector, Saudi Arabia is expected to channel more investments for qualitative improvements and to further diversify the range of tourism products and services. Hospitality investments are particularly gaining momentum, especially in the key cities of Makkah and Madina. Investment companies such as Abdul Latif Jameel Real Estate Investment Co. (ALJREIC) are taking the lead in infusing fresh investments into the tourism industry, particularly in the hospitality sector to cater to the expanding needs of citizens, visitors and pilgrims. One of the key development initiatives being undertaken by ALJREIC is the Jabal Al Kaaba project, which is expected to add more than 8,000 hotel rooms to the market over the next few years under the “Anjum Hotels” brand.
Yousef Abdul Latif Jameel, Chairman of Abdul Latif Jameel Real Estate Investment Co., said: “We are enthusiastic about the robust growth outlook of the tourism industry in Saudi Arabia, which registered a 6.8 per cent increase to reach a value of SAR 59.5 billion in 2011. With the number of tourists in KSA rising each year, particularly during the pilgrimage seasons, the tourism industry is certainly on track to further increase its contribution to the national GDP. Abdul Latif Jameel Real Estate Investment Co. has taken the lead to support the tourism boom in KSA through strategic development initiatives that include the SAR 10 billion Jabal Al Kaaba project. We are confident that our tourism investments will contribute towards enhancing the quality of hospitality and tourism amenities in KSA, in line with the directives of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) and H.R.H. King Abdullah, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.”
“The launch of the ‘Anjum Hotels’ hospitality brand is in line with our aim to create a distinctly Saudi-flavored, spiritually-uplifting hotel experience unlike any other. The flagship hotel of the brand, ‘Anjum Hotel’ will open in early 2013, providing all the amenities needed by Hajj and Ummrah visitors, especially given its close proximity to the Holy Haram,” concluded Jameel.