Gulf | Saudi Arabia

10 Saudi tourist facilities shut down in Makkah

Action taken against establishments that failed to address safety concerns

  • By Habib Toumi, Bureau Chief
  • Published: 12:32 March 21, 2013
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Courtesy: Sabq
  • An establishment that has been shut down for violations

Manama: Saudi tourism authorities in Makkah have shut down 10 tourist facilities, saying that they were not properly licensed to ensure safety for guests.

Security forces and officials from the electricity company helped implement the decision to shutter the buildings in various parts of the city which draws Haj and Umrah pilgrims from the world over.

“The investors had been given ample time to regularise their situation, but they have failed to do it,” officials from the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) were quoted as saying by Saudi media on Thursday.

The investors will now need to obtain documents from the municipality, civil defence, police and the tourism commission to prove guests staying at the tourist facilities are safe, Abdullah Al Sawat, the head of the commission, said.

“The facility owners were initially warned about the need to regularise the situation and told to pay a fine,” Al Sawat said, quoted by news site Sabq. “They were also warned that the second fine would include shutting down the facility.”

The official added that 6 of 11 tourist facilities shut down earlier this month had regularised their situation and have re-opened.

Makkah has 644 hospitality facilities offering a total of 123,500 rooms capable of accommodating 1.5 million guests, the commission said.

The city has 564 five-star hotels, 17 four-star hotels, 117 three-star hotels and 104 two-star hotels. It also has 80 fully furnished units.

Makkah, 70km east of the Red Sea city of Jeddah, sees more than three million pilgrims, mainly foreigners, congregate in the city at the time of pilgrimages.

The SCTA was formed in 2000 as the Supreme Commission for Tourism, but was renamed the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities in 2008 following the integration of antiquities and museums.

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