Ascott taps on religious tourism
ASCOTT, CapitaLand's wholly owned serviced residence business unit, has clinched contracts to manage three new properties in Saudi Arabia, including its first in Mecca.
The 280-unit Ascott Makkah, 92-unit Ascott Villas Riyadh and 69-unit Spectrums Residence in Jeddah are all slated to open next year, Ascott announced yesterday.
In addition, it is set to open Ascott Rafal Olaya Riyadh, its first serviced residence in the Kingdom's capital.
According to Ascott, these deals would increase its portfolio in the Middle East to more than 2,700 apartment units in 19 properties across 10 cities in Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.
Lee Chee Koon, Ascott's chief executive, said: "Religious tourism is one of the fastest-growing segments in the travel industry.
"In Saudi Arabia, religious tourism is valued at US$5.68 billion (S$8 billion), with 19 million pilgrims having visited Mecca and Medina in 2015, and this is further expected to reach 30 million by 2025."
He added that Ascott aims to double its portfolio in the Middle East to 5,000 units by 2020.
THE BUSINESS TIMES