(MENAFN) Munaf Ali, Chief Executive of UAE-based hotel developer Range Hospitality, has signed an agreement with Simon Coombs, President and Chief Executive Officer of Shaza Hotels, to construct about five projects in the Karbala region's religious sites with investments valued at approximately 1 billion, Gulf News reported.
According to Munaf, the main construction contract is valued at about 100 million, and has already been awarded to Shaza group. Construction will commence in February 2011 and the hotel is scheduled to open its doors to guests by 2013.
The hotel, which is designed by Dubai-based Dewan Architects and Engineers, will be built on a 55,000 square meters site, will comprise of 624 rooms and furnished apartments, said Munaf.
The project is driven by a tangible growth in the religious tourism sector, whereas every year, 18 million pilgrims visit the city of Karbala alone, which is the most popular religious shrine in the Muslim world after Makkah and Madinah in Saudi Arabia, he revealed.