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The project is located less than 6 kilometers away from the Prophet’s Mosque (pictured). Image Credit: Agency for the Prophet Mosque's Affairs

Dubai: Saudi Arabia’s Tourism Development Fund (TDF) in cooperation with Riyadh Bank will finance 1.3 billion Saudi riyals ($346.7 million) project in Medina aimed at capitalising on the tourism potential of the holy city, state Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said.

The fund signed an agreement with the Knowledge Economic City and Riyadh Bank to finance the development of the “Knowledge City Forum” project, a 68,000-square-metre tourism complex in Medina, making it among the biggest qualitative tourist projects in the holy city.

The multi-purpose project will include a five-star hotel that will be operated by a renowned world trademark, in addition to several tourist and entertainment facilities, shopping malls, restaurants and coffee shops, which will enrich the experience of tourists in the area.

The project is located less than 6 kilometers away from the Prophet’s Mosque and it is easily accessible through the Haramain High-Speed Railway at the Knowledge City, which connects Medina with Mecca in around 55 minutes through the King Abdullah Economic City and Jeddah.

The qualitative project will benefit from the position of Medina in the Islamic world, in addition to its being an international destination for tourism and heritage, especially that it ranked 23rd among the top 100 City Destinations for 2019 with around 9 million tourists according to the latest report issued by Euromonitor International before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Medina is also considered an ideal destination for tourist investment due to its proximity to several fascinating tourist sites, such as AlUla Governorate. Qusai Al Fakhri, CEO of the fund, said the finance offered by the fund to the Knowledge City Forum stands at 391 million riyals, pointing out that the bank has offered finance with the same value under the framework of a partnership agreement that TDF signed last year with the bank and other banks to finance tourist schemes.

Al Fakhri said: “The tourism sector in Saudi Arabia has started to benefit from the fund’s partnerships with Saudi banks with the aim of providing financing solutions to investors in a way that can develop distinguished tourist projects in various regions of the Kingdom, which can help achieve the goals of the National Tourism Strategy that seeks to increase the contribution of the tourism sector to 10 percent of the GDP and generate one million jobs by 2030”.

He added the financial support offered by the fund to such qualitative projects attracts the attention of prominent investors and operators in the hospitality fields from around the world, which can indirectly contribute to attracting more investments in the future.