22 May, 2015

Optimism over KSA domestic tourism expenditure growth

A planned portfolio of 20 hotels and 6 residential complexes in Saudi Arabia over the next seven years with SR1.5 billion investments will definitely enhance Dur Hospitality's leadership position in Saudi Arabia.

22 May 2015
RIYADH: A planned portfolio of 20 hotels and 6 residential complexes in Saudi Arabia over the next seven years with SR1.5 billion investments will definitely enhance Dur Hospitality's leadership position in Saudi Arabia and will reflect positively on its revenues, which are expected to increase 3 times by 2023. The hospitality industry in the Middle East including Saudi Arabia was discussed during the Regional Leaders' Panel at Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) 2015. Badr Al-Badr, CEO of Dur Hospitality, said: "The market is promising as reputable sources expect 25 million visitors to Makkah and Madinah by 2025."

He added: "The domestic tourism expenditure growth is forecasted to increase by 11 percent annually and inbound tourism by 13 percent annually especially after the completion of the two Holy mosques and the mega infrastructure projects." Dur Hospitality also revealed its expansionary plan targeting the emerging cities in Saudi Arabia such as Jubail, Yunbu and Tabuk, thus attracting business visitors. It announced the first Holiday Inn in Tabuk. This is the first hotel to be developed under the master development agreement (MDA) inked between IHG and DUR Hospitality Company last year. Badr Al-Badr added: "Hotels are one of the investors' most favorite choices but they require professional expertise and operational capabilities.

He said: "Dur therefore developed its operational strategy to cope with the investors who are looking for the perfect hospitality partner, by introducing 3 operational models -- The Dur-owned hotels operated by international brands that rely on management agreements with international operators, under which falls our partnership with Marriott since 1979 and will soon announce 2 new projects in Riyadh. Another model, are hotels operated by Dur Hospitality under its 10-year-old operational brand, Makarem that has recently re-launched its new brand identity and announced operating 10 new hotels in the coming 5 years.

And finally Franchise agreements, represented by our partnership with IHG" Badr Al-Badr highlighted the stability of the Saudi economy, which was not affected by the geo- political environment and the oil prices. On the contrary, he said the government expenditure did not change and with the fresh young leadership, things will become better. Badr Al-Badr pointed out the Saudization is one of the major challenges for the hospitality industry. He stressed on the importance of attracting Saudi staff to work in the hospitality industry. Their contribution is required for healthy and sustainable development.

© Arab News 2015