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51467 26 Dec 2019

SHIC 2020 Brings Together 350 Hospitality Leaders Committed to Transforming the Future of Saudi Arabia’s Hotel Market

Annual hospitality event follows a milestone year for Saudi Arabia’s tourism industry, after the launch of new visas which attracted 55,000 visitors in just one month

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. 23 November, 2020. The third annual edition of the Saudi Arabia Hospitality Investment Conference (SHIC), being held from 21-22 January 2020 at Riyadh Airport Marriott Hotel in Riyadh, will bring together more than 350 dignitaries, developers, investors, hotel owners and operators to discuss the future of the Kingdom’s ever-growing hotel market in light of the event theme, ‘Transform Tomorrow’.

Hosted by Dur Hospitality, organised by Semark and co-organised by Bench Events and MEED, SHIC 2020 features more than 90 high-profile speakers from companies paving the way in Saudi Arabia’s hospitality investment industry, including the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority, Al Hokair Group, AMAALA, The Red Sea Development Company and Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA).

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 2019 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”.

Ahead of SHIC, HE Ahmad Al Khatib, President of SCTH, 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 10% 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”.

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.

Commenting on this, Eng. 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.

John Pagano, CEO 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.”

Jerry Inzerillo, CEO, DGDA, said recent progress meant it was “a momentous time in this extraordinary country”.

He revealed: “We plan to break ground in January 2020 for Diriyah Gate, a mixed-use traditional urban community which celebrates the rich cultural history of Saudi Arabia. Diriyah Gate, Riyadh’s new global cultural and lifestyle destination, will be home to leading luxury and lifestyle retail brands as well as over 100 cafés and restaurants. With hospitality, leisure, culture, education and entertainment assets in our development plans, we’re hoping to attract millions of tourists who will fall in love with Diriyah”.

According to SCTH, more than 150,000 new hotel rooms will be built in Saudi Arabia over the next three years, around 30% of which will be government funded while 70% will be driven by the private sector.

Numerous international operators have signified their commitment to the Kingdom.

“With the direction Saudi Arabia’s tourism industry is heading, tourism is expected to rise across existing and new segments fuelling demand for a variation of new accommodation options, example, family friendly hotels including mid-scale and luxury resorts, and extended-stay hotels,” remarked Pascal Gauvin, MD, India, Middle East and Africa for IHG. “We are in active discussions with strategic partners to bring new brands from our global brand portfolio, such as Regent Hotels and Resorts, Six Senses and Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants, to the Kingdom to cater to these tourists’ diverse needs and preferences.”

Millennium Hotels and Resorts recently revealed its goal to operate a hotel in every region across Saudi Arabia, targeting 25 hotels in the Kingdom by 2025.

Millennium Hotels and Resorts MEA CEO Kevork Deldelian said: “We have been operating in Saudi Arabia for five years now, with nine hotels in our portfolio. We are already seeing increased business from the new tourist visas and are committed to playing a significant role in providing hotels across the Kingdom to accommodate this increasing demand”.

The SHIC programme will address various topics impacting the future growth of the hospitality sector, from asset management and franchising to sustainable luxury and artificial intelligence. There will also be case studies on mega projects, leadership panels, roundtables and a Three-Minute Pitch to Owners, during which leading brands will present their latest lodging products and loyalty programmes.

Meanwhile, on day one of SHIC, the Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF) KSA programme will run concurrently, showcasing the most innovative home-grown and international restaurant concepts transforming the F&B sector in Saudi Arabia.


About SHIC 2020

SHIC 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 (SEMARK), and co-organised by the team behind AHIC, SHIC’s mission is to connect hotel investors owners, developers and operators to help further the growth of the hospitality industry in the Kingdom. The third annual edition of SHIC will be hosted by strategic partner DUR Hospitality on 21-22 January 2020 at Riyadh Airport Marriott Hotel in Riyadh.

About AHIC 2020

AHIC, now in its 16th year, is the annual gathering for the Middle East’s hospitality investment community organised by global hotel investment event organiser Bench Events in partnership with Middle East business intelligence brand, MEED. AHIC creates a knowledge and networking platform for global and regional investors of all backgrounds, offering essential insights to investing in hotels, showcasing regional and international hospitality investment opportunities and facilitating direct connections with hospitality industry stakeholders. AHIC 2020 will be held at Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai from 14 April to 16 April and hosted by its founding patron, His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Airports, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman and CEO of Emirates Airline and Group, whose continued support of the industry and AHIC has been critical to the region’s tourism growth.

SHIC 2020 Sponsors

Sponsors include: Dur Hospitality Company as Strategic Partner; Accor, Al Hokair Group, Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts, Marjan, and Radisson Hotel Group as Platinum Sponsors; Emaar Hospitality Group, IHG, Marriott International and Millennium Hotels and Resorts as Emerald Sponsors; and Alkamal International, Colliers, Distance Studio Consultants (DSC), Drees & Sommer, febc, Hilton, The Indian Hotels Company Limited, Insignia, JA Resorts & Hotels, JLL, Knight Frank, Louvre Hotels Group, Melia Hotels International, Oakwood, OBMI Architecture, RAK Hospitality Holding, Schneider Electric, Shaza Hotels, SSH, and The Red Sea Development Company as Gold Sponsors. Al Tamimi and Company, HVS, MMAC Design Associates, PWC and Times World are the Silver Sponsors, while The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management, HAMA and the Saudi Commission for Tourism & National Heritage are Supporting Partners.

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