Mecca gears up for visitor influx

01 November 2012

Progress on the multibillion-dollar Jabal Omar scheme is proof the city is ramping up its infrastructure

At the end of October, millions of Muslims from around the world travelled to Mecca for the Hajj pilgrimage. They tested the city’s infrastructure to the limit.

As one of the five pillars of Islam, Muslims are expected to make the journey to Mecca at least once in their lives. With an estimated 1.7 billion Muslims around the world looking to visit, Mecca is struggling to keep pace with demand. The city needs more of everything. From roads and airports to water supplies and sewage tunnels. But this is slowly beginning to change with several projects under way.

One such scheme is the multibillion-dollar Jabal Omar development. Once complete, the scheme will have 37 towers and will provide much needed hotel space for pilgrims visiting the city.

The project has overcome a series of financial and contracting challenges, but with the first two phases under construction and bids now submitted for the third phase, the project is now back on track.

It is also not easy for contractors working in Mecca. There are restrictions on who can work there. The city has also dealt with severe flooding in the past.

If the contractors working on the project can overcome these challenges, scheme such as the Jabal Omar development will ease the strain on infrastructure. For the firms prepared to take on the challenge, that can only be a good thing.

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