First-ever Saudi Arabian Hotel Investment Conference launches

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by Patrick Ryan | Published 3 years ago

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The first-ever Saudi Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (SHIC) is taking place at the Riyadh Marriott Hotel on February 26.

HRH Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud

HRH Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud

Organised by Saudi Event Management and Marketing (SEMARK), co-organised by Bench Events and MEED and hosted by strategic partner DUR Hospitality, SHIC will bring together around 300 hotel investors, owners, developers and operators to help further the growth of the hospitality industry in the Kingdom.

The inaugural event will be headlined by His Royal Highness Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, president, Saudi Commission for Tourism & National Heritage and Her Royal Highness Princess Basmah bint Saud bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, chairwoman, Global United Centre for Research and Analysis, who will deliver an address on ‘The Future of Saudi Tourism – Transitioning to Tomorrow’, sharing insights into Vision 2030 and opportunities for hospitality investment and development in line with the government’s vision.

 Jonathan Worsley, chairman of Bench Events and Co-Founder of SHIC, said: “We are delighted to have the support of His Royal Highness Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Her Royal Highness Princess Basmah bint Saud bin Abdulaziz Al Saud for the inaugural edition of SHIC.”

 He added: “Having organised the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) for the past 14 years, we have witnessed phenomenal interest from our delegates into hospitality investment opportunities in the Kingdom.

“Now, as the country’s drive for a more diversified economy highlights new tourism and hospitality infrastructure, we believe it is the ideal time to connect investors and operators at SHIC, with an event dedicated to discussing and debating the issues most impacting the hotel industry’s growth in Saudi Arabia.”

 Programme highlights include Gerald Lawless, chairman, World Travel & Tourism Council, presenting Destination Development as well as Jaan Albrecht, chief executive officer, Saudia together with Abdellah Essonni, chief hospitality officer, MAAD International and Yasser Faisal Al Sharif, chief executive officer, Jabal Omar Development Company discussing ‘Transformational Development in the Holy Cities’.

 Worsley concludes: “The SHIC programme will also feature data from STR whose latest Pipeline Report reveals that Saudi Arabia currently has 40,020 rooms across 89 projects in the construction pipeline.

“Accordingly, Saudi Arabia has the largest number of hotel rooms under construction in the MENA region at present, making the Kingdom the region’s most active hotspot for investors and operators alike.”

The total value of hospitality investment projects in Saudi Arabia stands at US$1.9bn according to a forecast by MEED Projects.

 Dr Badr Al Badr, CEO of Dur Hospitality and strategic partner of SHIC, believes that the Saudi economy will witness a positive shift in the coming years when the government executes the recently announced initiatives bolstering confidence in tourism investments.

 “The Public Private Partnerships drive in Saudi Arabia is presenting new opportunities to attract investment into hospitality,” said Al Badr.

 “Following the announcement of the KSA Vision 2030, a more attractive investment environment is opening the doors for private investors into new areas of the Saudi Arabian economy. This creates significant opportunities for hotel investors,” Al Badr continued.

HRH Princess Basmah bint Saud bin Abdulaziz Al Saud

HRH Princess Basmah bint Saud bin Abdulaziz Al Saud

He added: “A large percentage of Saudi Arabia’s hotel pipeline focuses on the Holy Cities as economists are anticipating 30 million religious tourists by 2025. But hotel development will also be prompted by non-religious destinations, cultural cities and archaeological sites.”

 According to the Saudi Council of Economic and Development Affairs, tourism’s contribution to the GDP will go from a current 3.5% to over 10% by 2030.

 Access to the Saudi Arabia Hotel Investment Conference is available in conjunction with the AHIC VIP Package which includes other high-end experiences and access to exclusive content at AHIC 2018.

 To register your interest for this high-level invitation-only event, please visit


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