Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) says it will establish a new company to deliver projects that will allow more pilgrims to visit Medina and the city’s Prophet’s Mosque.

The company will be known as Roua Al Madinah. It aims to develop a 1.3 million square metre site about 1 kilometre away from the east wing of the Prophet’s Mosque.

The company’s activities will include the development of hotel, commercial and residential projects, as well as the development of cultural centres and museums. The company will also create opportunities for investment and private sector participation through the development of strategic partnerships

Its upcoming projects include 500 housing units, 80,000 hotel rooms, and prayer areas capable of accommodating 200,000 worshippers a-day. Initial preparation works are currently underway, with construction due to start in 2018. The first phase of the project is anticipated to launch in 2023.

It is estimated that the projects will create about 200,000 job opportunities, with an estimated annual contribution to GDP of SR7bn ($1.9bn).

Riyadh’s Vision 2030 document outlines plans to develop religious tourism further. For Medina, the aim is to increase the number of visitors to the city each year to 23 million by 2030.

The PIF is spearheading the development of other major projects in Saudi Arabia. It recently said it will lead the SR18bn ($4.8bn) redevelopment of Jeddah’s waterfront corniche.

Known as New Jeddah Downtown, the 10-year redevelopment scheme aims to create a tourist, residential and commercial destination on the Red Sea coast that will create 36,000 new jobs.

The PIF is also leading the development of the Red Sea Project that involves the development of 200 kilometres of coastline between the cities of Amlaj and Al-Jawh on the western coast of the kingdom.