The third annual edition of the Saudi Arabia Hospitality Investment Conference will bring together more than 350 dignitaries, developers, investors, hotel owners and operators to discuss the future of the ever-growing hotel market in the kingdom.
Under the theme, Transform Tomorrow, the event will be held at Riyadh Airport Marriott Hotel in Riyadh from January 21st-22nd.
Hosted by Dur Hospitality, organised by Semark and co-organised by Bench Events and MEED, the event features more than 90 high-profile speakers from companies paving the way in Saudi Arabia’s hospitality investment industry.
Presentations will come from organisations including the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority, Al Hokair Group, Amaala, the Red Sea Development Company and Diriyah Gate Development Authority.
Jonathan Worsley, chairman of Bench Events and founder of SHIC, said: “We are excited to kick-off 2020 with the third edition of SHIC, which comes following a pivotal year for the Saudi Arabian hospitality industry.
“The launch of tourist visas in September marked the kingdom’s intention to become a global tourism destination and we are proud to be bringing together the tourism officials, hotel owners and operators working to make this a reality.”
Within the first month of launching the visa, more than 55,000 tourist visas were issued, providing a glimpse into the huge latent potential of the sector.
Ahead of the 2020 show, Ahmad Al Khatib, president of Saudi Arabia Hospitality Investment Conference, said: “The launch of Saudi Arabia’s first tourism visa marked a historic milestone in the implementation of Vision 2030 and the development of the kingdom’s tourism industry.
“Our aspiration is that by 2030, tourism will comprise more than ten per cent of Saudi Arabia’s GDP, attracting 100 million annual visits and creating as many as one million new jobs.
“Today, we are in an exciting position at the beginning of this journey and we are working closely with the hospitality industry to harness the full potential of Saudi’s tourism sector.”
Commenting on this, Abdullah bin Mohammed Al-Issa, chairman, Dur Hospitality, said the rising number of visitors would drive quality and variety among the kingdom’s hospitality offering.
“Our expansion plans seek to keep up with this demand and utilise the increased potential it poses.
“We will continue to grow our diversified portfolio, which currently includes more than 20 properties in addition to several new projects underway.
“Right now, Dur operates 3,047 rooms, and seeks to almost double this number within the next four years,” said Al-Issa.
According to Saudi Arabia Hospitality Investment Conference, more than 150,000 new hotel rooms will be built in Saudi Arabia over the next three years, around 30 per cent of which will be government funded, while 70 per cent will be driven by the private sector.
Numerous international operators have signified their commitment to the kingdom.
John Pagano, chief executive of the Red Sea Development Company, added: “The uptake of the new e-visa demonstrates the widespread interest global travellers have in visiting Saudi Arabia.
“The e-visa creates opportunities for guests of the Red Sea Project to visit other parts of the kingdom – and vice versa –making it easier to experience the unique beauty of our destination and be part of our commitment to enhance the natural environment.
“Through its introduction, the government is again demonstrating its commitment to make tourism a key pillar of the kingdom’s economy.
“Visitors from around the world will experience the warm hospitality that Saudi Arabia offers and discover an unexplored part of the world.”
Saudi Arabia Hospitality Investment Conference is a two-day knowledge and networking event for hospitality 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, the mission is to connect hotel investors owners, developers and operators to help further the growth of the hospitality industry in the Kingdom.