The hotel industry in Mashhad has expanded in big numbers over the past three years, according to the president of Khorasan Razavi Hotels Association, Muhammad Qanei.
Three years ago, Mashhad, capital of Khorasan Razavi Province, had 75 hotels. Now it has 200, Qanei told IRNA.
“Building an average hotel costs 750 billion rials ($22 million), which includes land purchase, construction costs, equipment, staff and training,” the hotelier said. It was not clear what hotels and with which star ratings can be built with the amounts mentioned by him.
As of now 200 hotels in Mashhad are at various stages of construction. The rising numbers are expected to meet the target mentioned in the so-called Vision 2025 in which the holy city is expected to host 40 million pilgrims and tourists from across the globe.
“However, such massive investment in hotels has raised questions,” Qanei said. Many experts fear that there would be lots of empty rooms in the hotels in the low seasons.
The new hotels should be completed within four to five years, and that’s when lodging capacity in Mashhad will double, Qanei said.
Hotels in Mashhad now house 50,000 people on regular basis. During the high seasons, the capacity can reach 75,000.
Nearly half of Iran’s annual five million inbound tourists visit Mashhad, mostly pilgrims. The northeastern metropolis is home to the mausoleum of the eighth imam of Shia Muslims, Imam Reza (PBUH).
About 25 million people from Iran and overseas make the pilgrimage to the holy site every year.