Industry experts to attend Saudi Hotel Summit
Jeddah, October 10, 2012
Leading industry experts from Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) and Saudi Commission for Tourism & Antiquities (SCTA) will take centre stage at The Hotel Summit Saudi Arabia to be held next month.
The event which runs on November 18 and 19 at the Park Hyatt Jeddah, will be held in conjunction with The Hotel Show Saudi Arabia held at the Jeddah Center for Forums and Events from November 17 to 19.
In the recent years, the Kingdom’s hospitality sector has witnessed a staggering expansion and continues to grow in tandem with inbound travel; which is also increasing, both in terms of Umrah and business visitors.
Jeddah saw the highest occupancy rates due to its domestic leisure travel and geographical position as the ‘gateway to the holy city’, according to Colliers International Report on Saudi Arabia hospitality.
The latest report by SCTA states that the Kingdom is expected to receive 88 million visitors by 2020, with Umrah accounting for around 16 million travelers by 2014, increasing the number of hotel employees from 10,200 to 18,600 in the same period creating 2.3 million jobs by 2020.
There has been a sharp increase in the number of hotel rooms in the Makkah region, with many new projects announced in Jeddah, Makkah and Madinah.
Sheikh Mazen Batterjee, vice chairman of the board of directors of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Jeddah, said: “With the long-term vision to boost the tourist influx from 47 million in 2008 to 88 million in 2020, the demand for hotel rooms is set to surge from 120,000 to 255,000. The Hotel Summit Saudi Arabia is a great point of convergence to define the strategic roadmap for the country’s hospitality sector.”
“We have introduced several initiatives that are aimed at promoting the tourism and hospitality industry in the Kingdom through training highly qualified staff capable of offering hospitality services of international standards.”
In a recent report about trends on the GCC interior contracting and fit-out market, Ventures Middle East, knowledge partners of dmg::events, revealed that due to the increased supply of international brands offering nearly 3,000 hotel rooms, Saudi Arabia’s hospitality industry is now perceived by investors as the second most attractive of the GCC hospitality markets.
The Kingdom now offers an impressive array of hotels with Swissotel Makkah, the largest hotel in the Kingdom, and the biggest entity of Swissotel Hotels and Resorts with 1.487 rooms and suites.
Fourteen new Hilton hotels planned across the country in the next two years will also aim to recruit 40 per cent of employees for these hotels from within the country further contributing to Saudisation.
Mohammed Al-Amri, executive manager, Makkah region, SCTA, said: “In view of the rising business tourism and exponential expansion of the hospitality industry, there are expectations of having more than 20,000 rooms till 2016, with the increasing number of workers in the field of tourism. The Hotel Show and Summit is an excellent platform to facilitate business, and provide networking opportunities for industry peers.”
“The economic potential of this promising sector will create new jobs across various levels as direct and indirect tourism related jobs in the various tourist activities to exceed the barrier of one million jobs by 2016 in Saudi Arabia.”
The Hotel Summit, being held under the patronage of Prince Sultan Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, president & chairman of board of directors of SCTA, organised by Mice Arabia, co-organised by dmg::events, will debate the latest industry trends from across the globe and ways to leverage the know-how to boost the booming hospitality sector in the Kingdom.
It will encompass debates and panel discussions on Saudi Arabia’s economic landscape and hospitality sector’s viability, investment planning, strategy and expansion, brand consolidation strategies, operational excellence and trends.
The summit will also discuss a range of other topics, including regulatory mechanisms, HR, technology, innovation and other workshops.
Notable speakers include Gerald Lawless, president & group CEO of Jumeirah Group; Muhammad Al Amir, owner, Riyada International Company & vice chairman – accommodation advisory board SCTA; Kevin Wallace, president & CEO of JA Resorts & Hotels; Peter Blackburn, CEO of Cristal Hospitality; and Tarek Elsherif, the managing director of Five Continents Hospitality Management. –TradeArabia News Service