75 hotels ‘to open in Saudi Arabia by 2020’

Tourism official claims midmarket launches will increase choice in kingdom
75 hotels ‘to open in Saudi Arabia by 2020’
Image for illustrative purpose only.
By Staff writer
Sun 15 May 2016 11:00 AM

Global hotel operators will open around 75 hotels in Saudi Arabia over the next four years, a tourism official in the kingdom has claimed.

Salah Al Bakheet Al Talib, vice-president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTNH), was reported in Saudi media as saying a string of new hotel openings will increase choice in the market – in particular boosting the kingdom’s three- and four-star offering.

“Several global hotel companies are entering the Saudi market to operate 75 hotels over the next four years, with the support of the SCTNH, as a result of commission’s efforts to create a sustainable business environment for the hotel industry [here],” he was quoted as saying.

He reportedly made the comments after signing an investment agreement with Choice Hotels International and Equinox Ventures, a joint venture between Dubai-based consultancy Equinox Group and Al Tayyar Travel Group, at the end of last month. Under the deal, Choice is to launch its three most prominent brands, Clarion, Comfort and Quality, in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Shuja Zaidi, president of  Equinox Group, said in a statement to media: “Currently, markets such as Dubai, Riyadh, Jeddah and Makkah are undersupplied in mid-market hotel accommodations, providing an opportunity for a strong hotel brand such as Choice to bring its portfolio to the market.”

According to Al Talib, negotiations are underway with several other unnamed international hotel companies to enter the Saudi market.

Wyndham Hotels Group is one operator poised for further expansion in the kingdom, its regional president and managing director Daniel Ruff told Arabian Business last month. “We have only really scratched the surface of what we can do [there],” he said.

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