RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund on Monday announced plans to set up two investment companies to develop infrastructure in Mecca and Medina, Islam’s two holiest cities.
The state-run PIF announced the creation of Rou’a Al-Haram and Rou’a Al-Madinah for Mecca and Medina respectively, where the annual number of visitors is expected to triple by 2030.
The two firms will together build 150,000 hotel rooms to accommodate the increase in Muslim pilgrims who visit the sites annually.
PIF said the number of visitors is expected to reach 30 million in Mecca and 23 million in Medina by 2030, up from a total of eight million to both sites this year.
The two firms are part of a venture included in Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, a development plan aimed at diversifying the country’s economic revenue model and decreasing its reliance on oil.
The first phase of the project will be completed within five years, according to the PIF.
Saudi Arabia has said the two projects are expected to create more than 200,000 jobs.
The Public Investment Fund did not disclose the cost of the project. – AFP