Thousands of hotel rooms used as quarantine shelters in Saudi
Close to 1,900 rooms in Riyadh have been reserved for isolation purposes
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has quarantined thousands of people in hotels across the country as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to develop. According to sister publication Arabian Business, these isolation services act as a much-needed lifeline for the Saudi hospitality industry.
Arabian Business reported that the country’s government has been pumping millions of dollars to quarantine in hotels in an effort to curb the spread of the virus. One four-star hotel in central Riyadh with 100-plus rooms was left with only five guests in mid-March when the Saudi government offered four million riyals (US$1.06 million) a month for it to be used as a quarantine facility.
Additionally, the unnamed property’s sister hotel was offered six million riyals for a similar purpose. "This is better than running an empty hotel," the source said.
Together, close to 1,900 rooms and tourism facilities in Riyadh have been reserved for quarantine use, along with more than 2,800 rooms in Mecca and another 1,900 across the Kingdom’s eastern region.
In 2019, Saudi Arabia launched a country-wide tourism drive, aiming to boost the country’s hospitality sector and reduce KSA’s dependence on oil. More than 138 hotel projects with 54,143 rooms were due to be unveiled in the kingdom in 2019-20, according to industry projections.