| 21 February, 2018

Five-star hotel in Saudi capital asked to improve service or face downgrade- authority

Standards' enforcement programme will be rolled out to the rest of the kingdom in the future.

Cars drive past the Kingdom Centre Tower in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, January 30, 2018. Image for illustrative purposes.

Cars drive past the Kingdom Centre Tower in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, January 30, 2018. Image for illustrative purposes.

REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

The Saudi Commission of Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) has told a five-star hotel in Riyadh to upgrade its services in order to avoid being downgraded to a four- or three-star hotel.

The commission conducted a field visit and a tour of the hotel's services and facilities to ensure compliance with the licensing requirements and classification criteria approved by the authority, SCTH confirmed to Zawya in a statement sent via email, without disclosing the name of the hotel.

At the end of the visit, a meeting was held between the authority team and the hotel executives where SCTH said improvements to hotel services were required, and that a follow-up will be conducted by the commission to ensure their implementation.

The statement said that similar field visits will be conducted across tourism establishments in the city of Riyadh as part of a programme to enhance the quality of services and raise knowledge of the standards required by the authority.

The authority said that its standards programme would be extended to the rest of the kingdom in the next phase.

Saudi Arabia has embarked on an ambitious plan to boost its tourism appeal among local and international visitors. It recently announced the launch of a new tourist visa, and said details would be rolled out at the end of March this year. (Read more here).

The kingdom has also initiated a wide set of social reforms expected to boost domestic tourism and open the country to the rest of the world, from allowing cinemas, curbing the power of religious police, lifting a longstanding driving ban on women, and allowing gender mixing at major sporting events. (Read more here).

Saudi Arabia expects 84 new hotels to open in 2018, providing a total of 27,281 rooms, according to a report by Tophotels Projects, with Riyadh, Jeddah, Makkah and Al Khobar set to be the busiest areas for hotel construction. (Read more here).

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© ZAWYA 2018