Saudi Arabia Hotel Investment Conference to debut in Riyadh

Under the theme of ‘Focus on the Future’, the Saudi Arabia Hotel Investment Conference will present industry insights into how to capitalise on the multitude of hospitality investment opportunities arising in the kingdom.

Organised by Saudi Event Management and Marketing, co-organised by Bench Events and MEED and hosted by strategic partner DUR Hospitality at the Riyadh Marriott Hotel on February 26th, SHIC will bring together around 300 hotel investors, owners, developers and operators to help further the growth of the hospitality industry in the Kingdom.

The inaugural event will be headlined by his royal highness prince sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, president, Saudi Commission for Tourism & National Heritage, and her royal highness princess Basmah bint Saud bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, chairwoman, Global United Centre for Research and Analysis.

The latter will deliver an address on ‘The Future of Saudi Tourism – Transitioning to Tomorrow’, sharing insights into Vision 2030 and opportunities for hospitality investment and development in line with the government’s vision.

Jonathan Worsley, chairman of Bench Events and co-founder of SHIC, said: “Having organised the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference for the past 14 years, we have witnessed phenomenal interest from our delegates into hospitality investment opportunities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

“Now, as the country’s drive for a more diversified economy highlights new tourism and hospitality infrastructure, we believe it is the ideal time to connect investors and operators at SHIC, with an event dedicated to discussing and debating the issues most impacting the hotel industry’s growth in Saudi Arabia.”

Princess Basmah bint Saud bin Abdulaziz Al Saud will deliver a keynote address

Programme highlights include Gerald Lawless, chairman, World Travel & Tourism Council, presenting ‘Destination Development’, as well as Jaan Albrecht, chief executive, Saudia, together with Abdellah Essonni, chief hospitality officer, MAAD International, and Yasser Faisal Al Sharif, chief executive, Jabal Omar Development Company, discussing ‘Transformational Development in the Holy Cities’.

Worsley added: “The SHIC programme will also feature data from STR whose latest Pipeline Report reveals that Saudi Arabia currently has 40,020 rooms across 89 projects in the construction pipeline.

“Accordingly, Saudi Arabia has the largest number of hotel rooms under construction in the MENA region at present, making the Kingdom the region’s most active hotspot for investors and operators alike.”

The total value of hospitality investment projects in Saudi Arabia stands at US$ 1.9bn according to a forecast by MEED Projects.

Badr Al Badr, chief executive, Dur Hospitality, will examine the opportunities in Saudi Hospitality

Badr Al Badr, chief executive, Dur Hospitality, and strategic partner of SHIC, believes that the Saudi economy will witness a positive shift in the coming years when the government executes the recently announced initiatives bolstering confidence in tourism investments.

“The public private partnerships drive in Saudi Arabia is presenting new opportunities to attract investment into hospitality,” said Al Badr.

“Following the announcement of the KSA Vision 2030, a more attractive investment environment is opening the doors for private investors into new areas of the Saudi Arabian economy.

“This creates significant opportunities for hotel investors.”

He added: “A large percentage of Saudi Arabia’s hotel pipeline focuses on the Holy Cities as economists are anticipating 30 million religious tourists by 2025.

“But hotel development will also be prompted by non-religious destinations, cultural cities and archaeological sites.”

According to the Saudi Council of Economic & Development Affairs, tourism’s contribution to the GDP will go from a current 3.5 per cent to over ten per cent by 2030.

About SHIC

SHIC is a one-day knowledge and networking event for hotel investment industry leaders and influential figures from government, technology, construction and design to discuss and share hospitality investment opportunities in Saudi Arabia.

Organised by Saudi Event Management and Marketing, and co-organised by the team behind AHIC, SHIC’s mission is to connect hotel investors owners, developers and operators to help further the growth of the hospitality industry in the Kingdom.

The inaugural edition of SHIC will be hosted by strategic partner DUR Hospitality on February 26th at the Marriott Convention Centre at the Riyadh Marriott Hotel.

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