Saudi Hotels Optimistic About Haj Results
Saudi Arabia hoteliers reported better than expected occupancy rates rates during Haj season, despite worries that the swine flu would affect visitor numbers. Director of sales and marketing at Movenpick Hotel and Residence Hajar Tower Mecca said that, despite gloomy predictions, Haj was again a successful season for many hotel operators, “including ourselves, running at 100 percent occupancy.” Hassan Hassanien said many bookings were last minute and demand increased rapidly just two weeks prior to the start of the pilgrimage.
However, a recent report stated income form Mecca hotels and furnished apartments dropped 1 billion riyals this year. Hoteliers feel confident about future Haj seasons because the Saudi government is investing in infrastructure and hopes to attract 8 million pilgrims to the holy cities of Medina and Mecca next season. Vice President of Saudi Arabia projects for Hilton, Shula Zaida, said “Saudi Arabia is on its way up in terms of its hotel industry and religious tourism.”
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