FAIRMONT Raffles Hotels International (FRHI) Makkah, the operator of a portfolio of five-star hotels, including the Makkah Clock Royal Tower, A Fairmont Hotel, Raffles Makkah Palace and soon-to-be-opened Swissôtel Makkah, will showcase its dynamic portfolio at this year’s Arabian Travel Market (ATM).
A delegation of senior executives will represent FRHI Makkah at their exhibitor stand located in Sheikh Saeed Hall 3 (stand no. HC3750), and offer an insight into the strategically important role their properties are playing in the Kingdom’s burgeoning religious tourism market through its trio of unique five-star properties, and plans for future growth. Additionally, ATM visitors will be able to enjoy a flavour of FRHI Makkah’s premier guest services and acclaimed FRHI hospitality.
Khaled Yamak, group director of communications & business development, FRHI Makkah, said: “With our properties affording unrivalled views of, and access to, the Holy Ka’aba and the Masjid al-Haram – the holiest sites in Islam – our central Makkah location is ideal for pilgrims and Umrah performers visiting the city to fulfil their spiritual duties.
“In fact, our properties, offering 2,600 rooms and suites, make-up 40 per cent of accommodation options in the central Makkah area. Furthermore, our average occupancies for our two operating hotels peaked at 90 per cent in Q1 of 2012 – the highest to date since opening.”
The FHRI Makkah hotels represent three internationally-renowned brands – Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel – each of which delivers a unique experience, and come together to offer an elegant collection of accommodation options to suit every individual guest.
“Makkah Clock Royal Tower, A Fairmont Hotel, is a landmark presence integrated into the surrounding community; Raffles Makkah Palace offers sophisticated luxury with residential charm; and Swissôtel Makkah delivers efficient personalised service with a contemporary ambience,” remarked Yamak.
FRHI Makkah hospitality experts will also be on hand at the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia stand to discuss how the country is diversifying its contribution to gross domestic product (GDP), away from petrochemical revenues, through the labour-intensive service sectors such as hospitality, travel and tourism. In terms of demand, Pew Research Center estimates that the global Muslim population in 2010 was 1.6 billion and is expected to grow to 2.2 billion by 2030.
Yamak… more demand from Haj & Umrah travellers
At an annual growth rate of 1.5 per cent over the next two decades – twice that of non-Muslim populations – Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world.
“With continued growth forecast for the Muslim populace, as well as increasing demand from Hajj and Umrah travellers – who currently account for more than 60 per cent of Saudi Arabia’s inbound tourist traffic – we are focusing on delivering a consistently high-level of quality-driven guest services for both international and domestic travellers.
“To support this, we are constantly innovating and adding services to our trio of hotels. We recently introduced the Fairmont Gold initiative at the Makkah Clock Royal Tower which further personalises the guest experience.
“We’ve also just opened the new 1,500-capacity Al Jiwar Ballroom, and launched our new residential apartments at Raffles Makkah Palace which ensure spiritual serenity for our guests” Yamak added.
The Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) aims to attract 88 million visitors by 2020 as it continues to drive forward ambitious plans to develop religious tourism, domestic tourism and business travel in particular. Last year the Kingdom issued 9.5 million religious visas last year, up 11.3 per cent from 2010, according to the Ministry of Hajj website, with Umrah visas rising by one million in 2011 from 2010.