Ahad, Mac 02, 2014

Yanbu to host SR65m ‘pilgrim hub’

Yanbu to host SR65m ‘pilgrim hub’

Yanbu has been chosen by Saudi authorities to be developed as a major point for Haj and Umrah pilgrims, along with Makkah, Madinah and Jeddah. Various infrastructure projects in Yanbu are likely to transform Yanbu into another major pilgrim hub, according to officials. In keeping with Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah’s commitment to ensure comfort and welfare of pilgrims visiting the Kingdom, the authorities were focusing on overall development of infrastructure projects in all these places, Haj Minister Bandar Al-Hajar has declared. The establishment of a ‘pilgrim city’ in Yanbu at a cost of SR65 million has great potential, he says. This is because Yanbu can play a major role in handling the increasing number of pilgrims arriving from sea, which would ease pressure on the Jeddah seaport. Al-Hajar highlighted the new plans during a visit to the proposed integrated pilgrim city site in Yanbu. Moves to upgrade the airports and seaports at Yanbu are all part of a massive scheme to handle the increasing number of Haj and Umrah pilgrims visiting the Kingdom, said Al-Hajar. The Haram expansion project, Jeddah Airport project and metro train and integrated public transport system will also help upgrade pilgrim services. The minister said Yanbu has the potential to grow into a leading hub for pilgrims because of its strategic advantage. Its airport and close proximity with highway and residential areas in the city. “The pilgrim city also has the potential for private sector participation which can make Yanbu a strong tourism destination,” the Haj minister said in a statement. The pilgrim city, which will be executed in five phases, will be equipped with commercial centers, hypermarket, hotel, restaurants, banks, offices of travel and tourism agencies besides other basic facilities such as gasoline stations and workshops. Sahil bin Abdullah Sarur, transport secretary at the Haj Ministry, said the ministry is targeting Yanbu as a hub for land transits for Haj and Umrah pilgrims. The proposal for allowing foreign pilgrims who travel by vehicles between Yanbu and Egypt Hurghada shipping lines was submitted to the Ministry of Interior and Madinah Governor.” Prince Faisal bin Salman, governor of Madinah, recently approved SR2 billion development projects for the Yanbu port including facilities for pilgrims. The port handles more than 100,000 pilgrims per annum.

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