After a period of stagnation that lasted for more than 3 months due to the total and partial closure in application of precautionary measures to combat the new coronavirus pandemic, the hotel sector in Madinah has gradually began to recover; with the resumption of the internal tourism activity and the opening of the Prophet’s Mosque in June.
Tourism officials expect that by the end of 2020, the situation will return to normal especially in the central region; which has more than 30 hotels. Others linked the revival with the opening of visas and the re-launch of international flights.
Meanwhile, shops, restaurants and hotels, which are adjacent to the Prophet’s Mosque, welcomed the return of economic life; with the arrival of visitors from inside the Kingdom.
Ali Al-Bayti, Regional Director of the Intercontinental Hotels in Madinah, told Asharq Al-Awsat that some hotels have reopened in the city after the lockdown imposed by the outbreak of Covid-19. But he noted that many hotels were still closed, due to the low number of visitors and the start of the academic year.
“Hotel occupancy rates reach 35 percent at best during weekly holidays. While this percentage drops to 10 percent in the remaining days of the week,” he said.
The Regional Director of Intercontinental Hotels confirmed that the operation at this stage depended on visitors from inside the Kingdom. He underlined that the current number of visitors did not cover the hotels’ expenses in terms of staff wages; maintenance; and other financial expenses.
Those hotels are aware that there will be no profits and financial returns in the current fiscal year, he said.
Occupancy rate of 50%
For his part, Youssef Al-Ayek, the alternate manager at the Dar Al-Taqwa Hotel in Madinah, explained that according to the protocol issued by the Ministry of Health, every hotel must not exceed the occupancy rate of 50 percent of its total capacity. While adhering to all controls, especially in lounges and common areas.
“We are witnessing a gradual improvement in the occupancy of hotels within the central region. While the economic movement started to return to normal. This has reflected positively on the various economic institutions located near the Prophet’s Mosque,” he emphasized.