Saudi Arabia’s plans to expand the number of hotel rooms in the kingdom through its Vision 2030 strategy could cost approximately $110 billion, according to new research by Knight Frank. 

The Gulf state intends to develop projects that will transform the hospitality and tourism sector, a cornerstone of its economic diversification efforts. If plans push through, the kingdom could see the completion of 310,000 additional hotel rooms by 2030, the global property consultancy said in a report on Monday. 

“Given this is the biggest hotel supply pipeline ever seen in the region, it will usher a golden age of hospitality for Saudi Arabia,” said Turab Saleem, Partner – Head of Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure at Knight Frank. 

With the vision now unfolding in Saudi Arabia, Knight Frank noted that competition among hotel operators is now starting to heat up, adding that the kingdom is poised to see the number of 4-and 5-star hotel rooms to surge by 63.2 percent.  

It estimated that by 2030, Accor Group could double the number of its hotel rooms to almost 28,000, making the hotel operator the largest in Saudi. Another key player in the market, Hilton could emerge as the country’s second-biggest brand, with almost 19,000 rooms under management by 2030. 

Parallel industries, infrastructure 

Turab also noted that several parallel industries are expected to develop as well, and that there will be a need for Saudi Arabia’s physical infrastructure to evolve and new national carriers to be established, as visitor traffic is likely to grow. 

The transformation, he added, will call for new regulations to “manage all aspects of an international and vibrant tourism scene”. 

“The $110 billion herculean task of transforming Saudi Arabia’s hospitality landscape goes well beyond the delivery of extra hotel room keys. Care and attention must be taken to deliver the correct quantum of product in the right locations,” said Faisal Durrani, Partner – Head of Middle East Research at Knight Frank. 

(Reporting by Cleofe Maceda; editing by )