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Hospitality leaders to gather in Saudi Arabia for Future Hospitality Summit

Hospitality leaders to gather in Saudi Arabia for Future Hospitality Summit

The Future Hospitality Summit (FHS) will return to Saudi Arabia in a new format on 24-25 May 2022 at the Riyadh Airport Marriott Hotel.

Under the theme Reimagined Horizons, co-organisors The Bench and MEED, along with Saudi-based organiser SEMARK, have designed the programme around the key themes of the future of hotel development, destination impact, aviation, sustainability, restaurant investment and human capital.

“We’re thrilled to bring three investment communities under one roof at FHS Saudi Arabia this year; Saudi Hospitality Investment Conference (SHIC), Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF) and AVIADEV, which are all represented in our action-packed programme in Riyadh later this month,” said Jonathan Worsley, Chairman of The Bench.

“Our focus will be on the future of our industry and delegates will have over 40 opportunities to deliberate, learn and network over two exciting days. With a range of different formats from main stage presentations, workshops and panel discussions to interviews, break-out sessions and networking opportunities, we look forward to facilitating ground-breaking conversations on what’s next for the hospitality industry,” he added. 

Hosted by Dur Hospitality, FHS Saudi Arabia will kick off with a Moroccan-themed opening reception showcasing the group’s unique hospitality concepts. Ahead of the event, Dur’s CEO Mr. Sultan bin Badr Al Otaibi stated: “It’s a great pleasure to host such a grand event debuting the new era of hospitality and redefining the future of this vibrant industry while creating numerous opportunities to drive collaboration and joint leadership action from across the global hospitality sector.”


The GRIF community will be the first to take the stage at FHS with a series of sessions dedicated to the Kingdom’s F&B investment scene, including a focus on dining trends, new brands and concepts, levering restaurant technology and food sustainability and security.

Hilari Voorthuis, F&B Manager India, Middle East, Africa & Turkey at Accor said ahead of her participation in the session on ‘curating and creating great concepts that survive the test of time’: “I very much look forward to my discussion with Rohit from Soho Hospitality on defining the fundamentals behind creating successful concepts.

At a time where social media has an even greater impact on business and virtual brands are driving the way forward, I’m excited to discuss how we can create meaningful experiences without losing the opportunity to integrate these aspects into the business.”

Several of the FHS dialogues will focus on the economic outlook, destination development pipeline and the investment climate, including presentations from Pat Thaker at The Economist Intelligence Unit and Robin Rossmann from STR. Hala Matar Choufany, President Middle East, Africa and South Asia for HVS, will be leading the conversation on ‘the future of hospitality investment in Saudi Arabia’ with Muhammed Al Amir, CEO from AIMS Hospitality; Saleh Bin Habdan Alhabdan, CEO of Taiba Investments Company; Guy Hutchinson, President & CEO of Rotana Hotel Management Corporation and Dr. Adel Ezzat, CEO of Elaf Hotels.

Commenting on the topic she said: “Travel and hotel demand will continue to grow as new destinations emerge and unique schemes are developed. It is clear from the robust planning and Vision 2030 that KSA will emerge as a key player in the regional leisure segment, in addition to capitalising on the growing domestic demand and established religious travel. Success will largely depend on maintaining a healthy supply and demand equilibrium, a sustainable execution strategy, and as importantly, the equilibrium and partnership between the private and public sector.”

Nick van Marken, Managing Director at van Marken Limited, will look more broadly at the ‘future of hospitality in a dynamic market’ with panellists from some of the leading hotel groups operating in the Kingdom including CEOs from Dur Hospitality, IHG Hotels & Resorts, Hilton and Accor.

“The subject about the future of hospitality in a dynamic market is one that is close to my heart. Given the constant business changes and requirements we have seen in the past 24 months, now more than ever we need to remain dynamic and flexible in our hospitality offerings for partners and guests alike,” said Mark Willis, CEO India, Middle East, Africa & Turkey at Accor, ahead of the panel.

Hassan Ahdab, President of Hotels Operation at Dur Hospitality commented: “The last few years have brought radical transformation that, despite being tough, has inspired us to navigate our strategies toward a hospitality market that is more resilient to major shifts and open to change.”

“Saudi Vision 2030 sets the stage for an incredible future for sustainable tourism in the Kingdom. Across nine brands, Hilton is growing its portfolio to more than 75 hotels in the coming years – creating opportunities for our guests to experience Hilton’s Saudi hospitality in many new destinations. Whether it’s a locally flavoured welcome, remarkable culinary experiences, diversity of our teams or sustainable innovations in our hotel operations – we are excited about the Saudi opportunity and see a bright future ahead,” added Jochem-Jan Sleiffer, President, Middle East, Africa and Turkey at Hilton.

With staffing shortages being a pressing issue for the industry globally - accelerated by the global pandemic - FHS will feature a session on “How leaders are addressing the challenge of innovation and human capital in a rapidly changing environment.”

Federico J. González, Chief Executive Officer at Radisson Hotel Group, will have a main stage conversation on this topic with Sarah Hedley Hymers, Editorial Director at Connecting Travel. As a prelude to the session, he said: “I am very much looking forward to my discussion with Sarah Hedley Hymers at the Future Hospitality Summit in Riyadh. We believe in the strong recovery and growth of our industry and our company in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and in the world. The future of hospitality is an ongoing journey that needs to be relevant to our owners, guests, shareholders and employees.  In our ever-changing world, we are continuing to find ways to adapt, change, and bring forth innovation and sustainability in everything we do, as we establish ourselves as the company of choice for our partners, guests, and team members alike.”

FHS will also feature a series of breakouts covering a range of topics, including the ‘Future of hotel asset management’ led by the Hospitality Asset Managers Association (HAMA); the ‘Future of loyalty schemes, transparency and brand loyalty’ with Scott Antel from Scotts FZ LLE in conversation with Aleph Hospitality’s Founder & Managing Director, Bani Haddad; ‘Why sustainability is key for the future of the hospitality industry’ led by ENVI Lodges Co-Founder Noelle Homsy and Richard Williamson from the Considerate Group; and a breakout on ‘Hybrid lives and the vision of future spaces’ featuring Hamza Khan Co-Founder at Letswork and QUO’s Chief Branding Officer Catherine Monthienvichienchai.

For more information and to view the full programme of FHS Saudi Arabia, visit