TTME JANUARY 2019 - PAGE 7

$3.9bn hotel deals by 2023: SHIC

Set to be held at Marriott Riyadh Diplomatic Quarter from January 22-23, 2019, the second edition of Saudi Arabia Hotel Investment Conference (SHIC) will provide a forum for more than 300 hotel investors, owners, developers and operators to discuss the growth of the hospitality industry in the Kingdom.

TT Bureau

The Saudi Arabia Hotel Investment Conference (SHIC) will feature keynote sessions from the Kingdom’s leading industry experts, headlined by His Royal Highness Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, President, Saudi Commission for Tourism & National Heritage, including interviews with Eng Abdullah bin Mohammed Al-Issa, Chairman, Dur Hospitality Company and Abdullah Al Dawood, Group CEO, Altayyar Travel Group. The event is being organised by Saudi Event Management and Marketing (SEMARK), in partnership with Bench Events, MEED and Dur Hospitality.

Curated in response to demand for information on the multitude of investment opportunities arising in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, SHIC will feature keynote addresses, interviews, data presentations, panel debates, masterclasses and round-table sessions designed to provide delegates with valuable insights into the evolving Saudi Hospitality market at a pivotal time.

Al Saud will deliver his address on ‘Realising Travel & Tourism’s part of Vision 2030’, sharing insights into the government’s framework for supporting investment into the hospitality sector, as well as an update on plans for visas. Jonathan Worsley, Chairman of Bench Events and Co-Founder, SHIC, said, “The commitment to SHIC by prominent speakers on our programme is testament to the wealth of opportunities in the Kingdom and commitment from government and industry alike to delivering on Vision 2030.”

According to data from SHIC’s partner, MEED Projects, the outlook for hospitality investment in the Kingdom is strong, with $3.9bn worth of hotel deals set to be awarded over the next five years. The Kingdom has already seen new hotels worth in excess of $10bn built since 2012.

Data and analytics specialist STR forecasts that the room inventory in Saudi Arabia is set to almost double by 2024. There are 273 properties in the pipeline comprising 90,449 rooms. Currently, 403 existing hotels comprise 93,814 rooms.

Philip Wooller, Area Director— Middle East and Africa, STR, who will be presenting ‘Trends and Pipeline – Threats and Opportunities in the Kingdom’ at SHIC said, “The Saudi hotel industry has a pivotal role in achieving the Saudi Vision 2030 goals. We are already seeing development and construction accelerating across a number of hotel projects as steps are taken to attract more visitors to the Kingdom. The branded as well as independent hotel pipeline will certainly provide future visitors, as well as local residents of all demographics and budgets with diverse offerings and plenty more choice.”

Ahead of SHIC, Al-Issa said, “As Saudi Arabia witnesses a historic period of transformation, with tourism being one of the growing key sectors, it calls for a wide range of hospitality solutions to meet the future needs of both domestic and international visitors. Dur Hospitality, with more than 40 years of local market experience, is well aligned to this blueprint for growth, with a portfolio of 20 completed projects and 21 more under development, including hotels developed in partnership with major global brands and our very own Makarem.”

Other new speakers at SHIC 2019 include Jay Rosen, Head of Investment & Finance, Red Sea Development Company, who will review new areas in the Kingdom that are open to investment following Vision 2030; Mike Hernandez, Executive Director—Real Estate Development, Quiddiya Investment Company, who will discuss investment opportunities related to key demographics; and Ahmed Bin Madhi, Director of Asset Management, Rua Al Madinah Holding Company, who will share updates on developments in the Holy Cities.

Worsley commented, “The Madinah hotel market is going through a fundamental change due to the huge supply and new product offerings. The Rua Al Madinah Project will bring massive scale to this market and we will hear Ahmed Bin Madhi address the power of religious tourism as a driver for the hospitality industry and the economy”.

Female entrepreneurs will take centre stage at SHIC, with the launch of the first SHIC Young Leaders Award, recognising the impact on the hospitality industry of a Saudi National under 30.

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