Saudi Arabia’s government is planning to spend SAR6.1bn (US$1.7bn) on new developments at the kingdom’s holy sites, including 98,000 new toilets, it was reported.
Local news site Arab News quoted Habib Zain Al-Abdeen, head of the central administration for development projects at the holy sites, as saying that there was currently a major shortage in toilet facilities during the Islamic pilgrimage season.
He said that 36,000 new lavatories would be constructed during the next three years.
"Two years after that 62,000 new toilets will be built in Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifah to put an end to the current shortage," he reportedly said.
Al-Abdeen added that each toilet would be accommodated in a two-story building, with the colour blue indicating facilities for men, and pink for women.
Other projects scheduled for development at Saudi’s holy sites include moving a slaughterhouse for cows and camels from Mina to Al-Muaisim, as well as infrastructure for new train stations.
The report did not provide more specific details on how the bulk of the US$1.7bn would be spent, or timescale for completion of individual projects.
Islamic pilgrimages, such as the Hajj, are a major contributor to Saudi Arabia’s economy. According to data published by the kingdom’s Ministry of Hajj, the number of pilgrims last year reached close to 3m, of which almost 2m came from overseas.