Investors in hotels and furnished apartments in Makkah claim they have lost SR1 billion during the Haj because of the ban on old, sick and infirm pilgrims. Khaleel Bahader, Chairman of the Hotels and Tourism Committee at the Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI), said the income made by investors for hotels and furnished apartments for Haj was reduced by 70 percent. He estimated this loss to be SR1 billion.

Bahader’s comments come in the wake of some countries banning vulnerable pilgrims from performing Haj.

He said investors had not only incurred losses in the Haj season. “In Ramadan, investors lost money because of the fear over swine flu,” he said.

Bahader called for the formation of a committee consisting of several government departments to study the situation.

He also claimed that the owners of these buildings are demanding their money from investors who had been operating these establishments during the Haj season.

He said investors are now calling on the government to set up a special committee to look into the matter.

They have proposed that they are either given a government bailout or are allowed access to five-year loans on easy terms.

Bahader said that if the government cannot help investors with compensation or loans, then it should convince the owners to reduce the rents for their buildings. He said investors are convinced that the ban on the sick, elderly, children and pregnant women was behind the cancellation of hotel reservations.
Source: The Saudi Gazette