Breaking Travel News

Hospitality leaders head to Saudi Arabia for Future Hospitality Summit 2022

The Future Hospitality Summit (FHS) returns to Saudi Arabia this week, bringing together government leaders, hospitality investors, owners, and operators for the redesigned 2022 edition of the event on 24-25 May at the Riyadh Airport Marriott Hotel.

For the first time, FHS, hosted by Dur Hospitality and co-organised by The Bench and MEED along with Saudi-based SEMARK, will house three close-knit investment communities under one roof: Saudi Hospitality Investment Conference (SHIC), Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF) and AVIADEV.

United by the theme Reimagined Horizons, FHS Saudi Arabia will discuss the future of hospitality, hotel development, destination impact, aviation, sustainability, restaurant investment and human capital in the Kingdom over two action-packed days.

Ahead of the event, Jonathan Worsley, Chairman, The Bench, said: “We are honoured and privileged to welcome His Excellency Ahmed Al Khateeb, Minister of Tourism of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for the official opening of the Future Hospitality Summit. We are thrilled to be back in Riyadh for what is set to be one of our strongest programmes yet, shaped with the help of our newly launched Advisory Board comprising a carefully curated group of senior industry leaders.”


Jonathan Worsley, Chairman, The Bench

The FHS Saudi Arabia programme will feature over 40 opportunities to deliberate, learn and network and combines main stage presentations, break-out sessions and panel discussions with workshops, networking breaks and announcements, all designed to facilitate trail-blazing conversations on what’s next for the hospitality industry in the Kingdom. Here are some highlights of sessions and speakers at the 2022 edition of the Future Hospitality Summit Saudi Arabia:

Tourism and Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030
Accelerating the growth of Saudi Arabia’s tourism industry through funding
Moderated by Amal Dokhan, Partner at 500 Global, this session will introduce the opportunities within the Saudi tourism industry - from employment and the promotion of entrepreneurship to the transformation of tourism and untapped investment opportunities in the Kingdom - with panellists Wahdan Alkadi, CBO at TDF; Tariq Al-Sadhan, CEO of Riyad Bank; and Cyril Piaia, CEO at Emaar Economic City – King Abdullah Economic City. In addition, the panel will discuss the role of financial institutions in driving transformation of the tourism industry in KSA in line with Vision 2030 by collaborating with TDF to provide funding to SMEs and entrepreneurs.

Supporting Sustainability
What the industry needs for a sustainable future
Sustainability will be high up on the agenda at FHS Saudi Arabia with several dedicated sessions on the topic. Gemma Greenwood, Director of Content Inc., will be in conversation with Jerry Inzerillo, Group CEO of Diriyah Gate Development Authority and John Pagano, Group CEO of The Red Sea Development Company & AMAALA, about ‘Supporting sustainable business models -embedding global expertise and local knowledge and culture,’ on day two of the conference. Gemma will also be talking to Abdullah Al-Jumah, Travel Blogger & Influencer in Saudi Arabia, on the topic of ‘Meaningful hospitality for the future traveller.’ On day one, Victor Maurice Philippe Lefevre, Middle East & Africa Lead for Eve Air Mobility, will be tackling ‘The future of sustainable advanced air mobility in the Kingdom.’

Startup Kingdom
How to thrive in the world of hospitality startups
With entrepreneurship as one of the key drivers of innovation and transformation in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Abdullah Alghalaiqah, Entrepreneurship Expert at Monsha’at; Fares Al Rashed, Chairman & Founder of Oqal; and Latifah AlTamimi, Co-founder & CEO of GatherN, will take the stage to discuss how hospitality start-ups can thrive in Saudi Arabia.

The Future of Restaurant Investment
Presented by the Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF)
The Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF) will feature a range of thought-provoking sessions on the future of restaurant investment and dining in the Kingdom. GRIF will be opened by James Hacon, Chief Marketing Officer of MAPAL Group, who will also moderate the session ‘Trends affecting the global and Saudi Arabian market’ in conversation with His Excellency Prince Waleed Nasser Al Saud, CEO of Mukatafa, and Muhammad Ali Syed, Founder & CEO of Mingora, who will present ‘A market overview of restaurant trends in Saudi’ on the main stage earlier that morning.

Stefan Breg, Managing Director of KEANE Consult in KSA, will be discussing ‘How to choose the right restaurant franchisor to suit the KSA market’ with Mohammed Jawa, Founder & Chairman of MJS Holding, as well as ‘The boom in high-end dining in the Kingdom with exciting new brands in the pipeline and the potential for home-grown concepts,’ with Abdullah Al Muslemani, CEO of Crown & Co; Mayada Badr, CEO of the Culinary Arts Commission; and Nicolas Budzynski, Global Operations Director at LPM Restaurants & Bar.

GRIF will also address the important topics of ‘Curating and creating great concepts that survive the test of time’, ‘Leveraging technology to improve business performance,’ as well as ‘Creating a workplace where people thrive and stay’, and ‘Food sustainability & security.’

FHS Intelligence
What the data says about the future of the industry
Many of the conference sessions will be underpinned by intelligence, with industry data, insights, and predictions. On day one on 24 May, Pat Thaker, Editorial and Regional Director MEA at The Economist Intelligence Unit, will be presenting a ‘Global outlook with a focus on Saudi Arabia & the Middle East’, followed by Robin Rossman, STR’s Managing Director, who will be ‘Setting the scene for destination and hotel development in Saudi Arabia’. On day two on 25 May, Olivier Ponti, Vice President Insights at ForwardKeys, will be looking at ‘Destination Data- the key for smart investors.’

Leading the Change
A special open mic session that will see 10 finalists present how they are change leaders
Led by judges Tim Peck, Chairman OBM International, and Rohan Ranade, Associate Vice President Real Estate & Development for the Indian Hotels Development Company Limited (IHCL), 10 finalists will each take the stage for three minutes to address FHS delegates on how they are a change leader in the hospitality industry through their innovations, leadership, or sustainable practices.

Breakout Debates
FHS Saudi Arabia will feature a series of breakout sessions that cover a wide range of topics:
• The future of loyalty schemes, transparency, and brand loyalty
• The future of hotel asset management - an invitation-only workshop by HAMA MEA
• The future of sustainable mobility and why sustainability is key for the future of the hospitality industry
• “Hybrid lives” – the big shift and vision of future spaces
• HotelNFT bridging the physical to digital words with Web3.0

Exclusive Announcements
FHS is a forum where deals are done and headlines are made
The Future Hospitality Summit, and the investment communities it brings together, is known as a forum where deals are done and headlines are made. There will be a ‘Breaking news announcement’ on day one of the conference in addition to a series of signings.

The Return of Networking
Along with daily networking breaks, FHS Saudi Arabia will feature two not-to-be-missed receptions:
• 23rd May – A Morocco-themed opening reception hosted by Dur Hospitality at the Riyadh Airport Marriott Hotel

• 24th May – Cocktail, dinner and live entertainment hosted by Radisson Hotel Group at the Radisson Hotel Riyadh Airport

Essential Information
Future Hospitality Summit (FHS) Saudi Arabia
Date: 24-25 May 2022
Venue: Riyadh Airport Marriott Hotel
Delegates: Government leaders, hotel owners, investors, developers and operators
Speakers: 110+ leaders from across the hospitality, travel and tourism sectors
Tickets: Book via