Flu scare grips Makkah-bound
Makkah, August 7, 2009
A number of hotels in the city of Makkah have reported a jump in their booking cancellation numbers weeks before the Holy Month of Ramadan begins owing to a wave of swine flu scare among travellers, a report said.
The Makkah Hilton & Towers, which is in close proximity to the Al Haram Mosque and the cube-shaped Kaaba, is seeing its season bookings plunging more than 20 per cent, the Arabian Business report said.
“We’re not fully booked for this coming Ramadan which is very unusual,” Mohammed Amin, a marketing department employee, was quoted as saying in the report. “Less people are coming because of swine flu and the financial crisis. It has really made a difference.”
The report quoted marketing coordinator Malik Mustafa at Le Meridien Towers Makka, as confirming room bookings are still on the decline.
“Since the summer we’ve lost around 500 nights because of swine flu. During Ramadan we were fully booked, but we’re receiving cancellations from all around the world: Morocco, Egypt. People are afraid to travel,” Mustafa was also quoted as saying in the report.