JEDDAH – The Saudi tourism industry accounted for 3.2 percent of the Kingdom’s total GDP in 2011, as well as 7.1 percent of non-oil GDP and 11.8 percent of private sector GDP, figures released recently by the Saudi Tourism Information and Research Center said.
The total value of the tourism industry in 2011 was estimated to reach SR59.5 billion, increasing by 6.8 percent from SR55.7 billion in 2010, and is forecast to further increase in 2012 driven mainly by an expected 5.3 percent increase in inbound tourists reaching 18.42 million this year.
Hospitality investments are particularly gaining momentum, especially in the key cities of Makkah and Madinah.
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 percent increase to reach a value of SR59.5 billion in 2011. With the number of tourists in the Kingdom 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 Saudi Arabia through strategic development initiatives that include the SR10 billion Jabal Al Kaaba project.”
He added: “We are confident that our tourism investments will contribute towards enhancing the quality of hospitality and tourism amenities in the Kingdom, in line with the directives of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities and 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 close proximity to the Holy Haram," Jameel noted. – Agencies.