Trends: religious tourism in KSA with Majed Bukhari, general manager of IHG voco Makkah

Trends: religious tourism in KSA with Majed Bukhari, general manager of IHG voco Makkah

voco Makkah’s  GM, Majed Bukhari, discusses Makkah’s significance for religious travelers and how the hotel caters to their distinctive needs.


What can you tell us about Makkah as a destination for religious travelers and how voco is welcoming these guests?

Makkah holds immense significance as a destination for religious travelers during the Hajj and Umrah seasons. It is the birthplace of Islam and home to the holiest site in Islam, the Kaaba. Thus, millions of Muslims from around the world participate in the pilgrimage to Makkah every year to fulfill their religious obligations.

As for voco Makkah, it is a hospitality establishment that recognizes the unique needs of these religious travelers. Therefore, it aims to provide a comfortable and convenient experience for pilgrims during their stay in Makkah. Furthermore, at voco Makkah we understand the spiritual and physical demands placed on pilgrims. Thus, we strive to cater to those needs.

Furthermore, the hotel offers a range of services and amenities designed specifically for religious travelers. These may include proximity to the Haram, the mosque surrounding the Kaaba, to provide easy access for prayers and rituals. Additionally, voco Makkah provides prayer rooms, dedicated prayer times and religious guidance to ensure that guests can observe their religious practices with ease.

Moreover, voco Makkah is able to offer facilities for ablution (wudu) and other religious rituals, as well as meal options that comply with Islamic dietary requirements. The hotel staff is trained to be knowledgeable about the Hajj and Umrah rituals in order to assist guests with any questions or concerns they may have.

How does voco Makkah plan to contribute to this growth in religious tourism?

voco Makkah acknowledges the ambitious objectives set by Saudi Arabia to attract pilgrims and stimulate religious tourism by 2030. As a hotel exclusively dedicated to serving religious travelers, voco Makkah aims to make significant contributions to this growth through various means. One such contribution is by providing outstanding accommodation options that prioritize the comfort and convenience of pilgrims during their stay.

With a focus on delivering high-quality facilities and comfortable rooms, voco Makkah offers a range of bedding arrangements, including single, double, triple, and quadruple occupancy, ensuring flexibility to meet the diverse needs of guests. Additionally, the hotel features spacious family rooms, as well as one-bedroom suites, further enhancing the overall experience of religious travelers.

Alongside exceptional accommodation, voco Makkah is committed to delivering attentive service that attends to the unique requirements and preferences of pilgrims, ensuring their stay is truly memorable. The hotel understands the importance of proximity to the holy sites in Makkah for pilgrims. voco Makkah may strategically position itself to provide easy access to the Haram and other significant religious landmarks. This proximity allows guests to maximize their time for prayers, rituals, and spiritual activities.

voco Makkah enhances religious tourism in Saudi Arabia through its proximity to holy sites, tailored services and collaborative partnerships for pilgrims.

What dining facilities and global cuisine options are available at voco Makkah?

voco Makkah takes pride in offering a diverse range of dining facilities and global cuisine options. The hotel features multiple on-site restaurants and cafés, each offering a unique dining experience. Thus, guests can expect a wide array of global cuisine options. The hotel’s culinary team skillfully crafts global flavors, highlighting authentic traditions and culinary richness from diverse regions.

Depending on the dining venue, guests may have the option to choose from buffet-style meals or à la carte menus. Buffet allows guests to explore different cuisines and indulge in their favorite flavors. À la carte menus provide a personalized dining experience, where guests can select dishes according to their preferences.

Furthermore, voco Makkah understands the importance of catering to various dietary requirements. The hotel offers options for vegetarians, vegans, and individuals with specific dietary restrictions or allergies.

For guests who prefer to dine in the comfort of their rooms, voco Makkah may provide a convenient room service option. This allows guests to enjoy a meal from the hotel’s menu in the privacy of their own accommodations.

Also, voco Makkah offers a range of dining facilities and global cuisine options. Thus, the hotel aims to satisfy their preferences through a combination of diverse dining venues.

voco Makkah is largest hotel in the holy city. How does its size and capacity benefit the guests and the region?

As the largest hotel in Makkah, voco Makkah can accommodate a larger number of guests. This is particularly important during peak times, such as the Hajj and Umrah seasons. The hotel’s size allows for a greater number of pilgrims to be accommodated comfortably.

With its larger capacity, it can offer a wider range of room options and configurations. This includes accommodating individuals, couples, families, and groups of varying sizes. The availability of different room types ensures that guests can find suitable accommodations.

The size of voco Makkah enables the hotel to employ more staff, which allows us to attend more promptly to guests and provide greater assistance. Therefore, we maintain high standards of cleanliness and ensure a seamless experience for visitors.

One must not forget that being the largest hotel in Makkah, the property contributes significantly to the local economy. The hotel’s operations generate employment opportunities for the local workforce, stimulating economic growth in the region. Moreover, the hotel’s expanded guest capacity boosts tourism revenue in Makkah, benefiting local businesses and enhancing infrastructure and services.

Furthermore, with ample space, the hotel can provide a range of amenities, including dining options, prayer facilities, shopping facilities and much more. This allows guests to have a fulfilling and enjoyable stay within the hotel premises, enhancing their overall pilgrimage experience.

voco Makkah’s size and capacity fulfill the needs of religious travelers, bolstering Makkah’s growth as a significant pilgrimage destination.


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Rita Ghantous

Rita Ghantous is a hospitality aficionado and a passionate writer with over 9 years’ experience in journalism and 5 years experience in the hospitality sector. Her passion for the performance arts and writing, started early. At 10 years old she was praised for her solo performance of the Beatles song “All My Love” accompanied by a guitarist, and was approached by a French talent scout during her school play. However, her love for writing was stronger. Fresh out of school, she became a freelance journalist for Noun Magazine and was awarded the Silver Award Cup for Outstanding Poetry, by The International Library of Poetry (Washington DC). She studied Business Management and earned a Masters degree from Saint Joseph University (USJ), her thesis was published in the Proche-Orient, Études en Management book. She then pursued a career in the hospitality industry but didn’t give up writing, that is why she launched the Four Points by Sheraton Le Verdun Newsletter. Her love for the industry and journalism led her to Hospitality Services - the organizers of the HORECA trade show in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan, as well as Salon Du Chocolat, Beirut Cooking Festival, Whisky Live and other regional shows. She is currently the Publications Executive of Hospitality News Middle East, Taste & Flavors and Lebanon Traveler. It is with ultimate devotion for her magazines that she demonstrates her hospitality savoir-faire.

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