(MENAFN - Arab News) Future Makkah, a showcase on the ongoing development of the holy city, which ended on Tuesday after a three-day run, brought together prominent business leaders to do business, exchange ideas and forge relationships.
Held with the support of Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, at the Jeddah Center for Forums and Events, the event combined an exhibition, conference and workshop.
Abdul-Aziz bin Abdullah Al-Khudairi was visibly impressed with Future Makkah 2011 when he opened it on Sunday.
"I am impressed that an event is dedicated to the holy city of Makkah," he remarked.
"Projects worth billions of dollars are being initiated in the region, especially residential projects that are being undertaken to solve the housing problem in Makkah," he said.
"Further, the immediate emphasis will be to prevent project delays and complete unfinished projects," he said.
He said a strategy is also in place to achieve all round-development and resolve the problem of population explosion, congestion and overcrowding in major cities.
"The key is to ease the burden on major cities and support the development of other provinces, making them self-sufficient," he added.
Future Makkah featured an exhibition, the Future Makkah Development Forum, and post-conference workshop.
More than 5,000 local, regional and international investors, high net-worth individuals, government and municipality companies, construction, infrastructure and utility companies visited the event, seeking to capitalize on over SR100 billion government expenditure for projects encompassing infrastructure, utilities, investment, financing, real estate and tourism sectors.
Among the topics discussed were Makkah and the rest of the Kingdom's increasing power and water requirements, ongoing hospitality projects, transport development, the growing need for medical centers and services, availability of financing facilities, profitable investment opportunities in Makkah and the wider Kingdom, public-private partnership prospects, land values and specialized project management strategies.
High-profile developers such as Jabal Omar Development Company and Elaf Group also discussed their development plans in the region.
Hussain Al-Harithy from National Exhibitions Company, which co-organized Future Makkah along with IIR Middle East, said: "We are deeply honored with the support of Prince Khaed Al-Faisal, which reaffirms the strategic importance of Future Makkah in helping achieve the long-term objectives of the Makkah Development Plan."
Deep Marwaha, group director, IIR Middle East, providing an overview of the major development projects that will be undertaken in Makkah over the coming years, said 40 percent of the investment into the city of Makkah will be allocated to the private sector under the Makkah development plan, which underlines the significance that the province holds for private sector companies.
Essam Kalthoum, Acting CEO of Bawabat Makkah, who spoke on behalf of Makkah Mayor Osama Al-Bar said: "As part of the efforts to develop and modernize Makkah, a company under the name of Al Balad Al Amin will be set up. The most important goal of the company will be to complete unfinished housing and road projects in Makkah, while also contributing to social development and tourism promotion."
Sameer Al-Quraishi, executive general director, Jabal Omar Development Co., one of the platinum sponsors of the event, said: "It has been our mission to develop premium-quality properties within the region, taking into account the sanctity of the holy city while catering to the needs of the increasing number of pilgrims, Umrah performers and worshipers. Future Makkah will surely help us gain more exclusive insights that will support our ongoing development plans in the region."
Tarik H. Nabulsi, deputy CEO, Elaf Group of Companies, which is also one of the platinum sponsors of the event, said: "Makkah province continues to open exciting growth opportunities for the hospitality sector in light of the increasing number of religious visitors in the region."