Business Destinations

Business Destinations

August 17, 2015 11:00 ET

Business Destinations - Modernising Mecca

LONDON, ENGLAND--(Marketwired - Aug. 17, 2015) - Mecca has undergone a quite extraordinary transformation over recent decades, though the process has not come without sacrifice, as some of the city's most important historical sites have fallen foul of the expansion. The new issue of Business Destinations takes a look at Islam's holiest city and asks whether its ancient heritage is beginning to disappear.

"Over the past 50 years, Mecca has changed tremendously", says Dr Irfan Al Alawi, Executive Director of the Islamic Heritage Foundation, in the Business Destinations report. "It has been systematically demolished to make way for newer buildings and towers, which accommodate pilgrims, [but] don't have any Islamic architecture." Herein lies the dilemma facing Mecca, as the city looks to maintain its religious significance while also accommodating a far greater number of visitors.

The Business Destinations report also takes a look at the distinguishing features of Mecca's transformation; not least the Makkah Clock Royal Tower, the $60bn expansion of the Grand Mosque, and the Al Mashaaer Al Mugaddassah Metro Line. "The spiritual aspect of the pilgrimage is being lost because of these seven-star buildings", said Al Alawi. "They resemble the Manhattan elite hotels: if you were not overlooking the Grand Mosque, one would never imagine that you were in Mecca. You would think that you were in a metropolitan city somewhere in the West - but never Mecca."

The report weighs up the opportunities for expansion against the need to preserve the site's cultural, historical and religious significance, and asks how the city might flourish to untold heights and maintain its place at the centre of the Muslim world.

Also in the new issue of Business Destinations is a feature on Toronto's rising prestige, and the ways in which costs and construction projects are benefitting businesses while also driving some residents away. Elsewhere, the magazine looks at how coastal cities are preparing for rising sea levels, and how the MERS outbreak has affected South Korean tourism.

To read any of the aforementioned stories and many more surrounding the world of business travel, read the new issue of Business Destinations, available in print and online now.

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