Madinah is a religious and historical hub. Some of the world’s oldest mosques can be found in the city, which is considered by Muslims to be the second holiest city, after Mecca. Prince Sultan bin Salman wants to take that further.
As the chief of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), Prince Sultan is working hard to make Madinah the capital of Islamic tourism this year. Early in February, he held the opening ceremony for this campaign, officially called “Madinah Capital of Islamic Tourism 2017.”
What that really means is that they will be trying to attract more Muslims to visit Madinah (and its historical and touristic sites) – with millions visiting nearby Mecca during Haj each year, it shouldn’t be a difficult feat.
Masjid Al Nabawi or Nabawi Mosque (Mosque of the Prophet) in Medina, Saudi Arabia, at dawn.
“It is my great pleasure and honor to participate in the ceremony of ‘Madinah Capital of Islamic tourism’ as it has big significance in the hearts of all Muslims,” he said in a speech at the opening.
Indeed, during the opening ceremony, Prince Sultan emphasized that Madinah has heritage sites, tourist attractions and, of course, mosques that essentially tell the history of Islam.
By 2025, Madinah is expected to host 9 million visitors each year, according to a report by Aljazira Capital. For those who live in or around the area, that may seem like code for “horrible traffic jams,” but it could be good news for the region.
Each of those projected 9 million visitors would be spending money on hotels, food and entertainment, giving a boost to the local economy. But it won’t happen without investment from the government.
The “Kingdom is Muslims’ Destination” campaign strongly advocates Madinah as a central location for the country’s visitors, and the cost of the initiative has reached SR2.67 in this year alone.
That money, combined with the hard work of campaign members, will likely bring in more and more tourists to Madinah. Wahib Al-Sahli, Madinah’s deputy governor, said about as much in a speech.
“Today, Madinah wins for being the capital of the Islamic tourism under the wise leadership, and attention and care provided for the city by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.”