Saudi Arabia will develop Medina into a modern Islamic city and cultural destination. Photo/@RuaAlmadinah/Twitter
MADINAH – Saudi Arabia plans to transform Islam’s second holiest city, Medina, into a “modern and cultural Islamic destination”.
According to an Arab News report last week, the project is part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 strategy.
The project will be overseen by Rua Al Madinah Holding Co, a real estate company owned by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund Public Investment Fund (PIF), in partnership with French multinational hotel company Accor Group.
The Rua Al Madinah project is currently underway, located east of the Prophet’s Mosque in the city of Medina and will include the 140-room Fairmont Hotel, 120 Fairmont-branded residences, the 466-room Swissotel and the 328-room Novotel.
“We are delighted to be partnering with a leading hospitality group known the world over for their distinguished and inimitable style,” said Ahmed Al-Juhani, CEO of Rua Al Madinah.
He added, “The three new brands will enhance the appeal of the project’s master plan and help us offer city visitors a wide range of hospitality options, providing something for everyone that meets their needs and budget, and enriches their experience.”
Meanwhile, Duncan O’Rourke, Middle East, Africa, Turkey and Asia-Pacific region CEO at Accor, explained, “We are proud to sign the first Swissotel property and strengthen our Novotel offering in Medina. With this signing, our ultimate goal is to support diverse offerings on the main development of Rua Al Madinah.”
Mohammed Al-Khalili, chairman of Rua Al Madinah Holding, explained to Arab News, “The total value of the project is nearly 140 billion Saudi rials (USD 37 billion) or IDR 548 trillion. When completed, this project will add 93,000 direct and indirect jobs.”
According to the Rua Al Madinah Holding website, the project aims to strengthen “Al Madina Al Munawwarah’s position as a prestigious religious destination with a modern architectural system that stems from its ancient history.”
He added that the company hopes to “enhance the readiness of the Prophet’s Mosque central area by developing a different urban environment with modern infrastructure to accommodate more visitors, in line with the goals of the vision.”
In accordance with Vision 2030, this project aims to increase Medina’s hospitality capacity to accommodate 30 million visitors by 2030.