Almost 50% of Radisson's MENA pipeline is in Saudi Arabia
The hotel group currently has more than 42 hotels in operation and under development in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
In an exclusive interview with Hotelier Middle East, Elie Milky, vice president development, Middle East & Africa at Radisson Hotel Group, has revealed that almost 50% of Radisson’s pipeline for MENA is in Saudi Arabia.
Radisson is no stranger to Saudi Arabia, having had a footprint in Saudi Arabia since 2002, with continuing expansion plans, according to Milky.
“This month [April 2019] is the opening of the group’s second hotel in Riyadh,” said Milky. Adjacent to the High Commission for Tourism, the Radisson Blu Diplomatic Quarter is owned by the The King Salman Center for Disability Research.
Radisson has five hotels and almost 3,000 rooms in operation, and under development in Makkah. “Both the Radisson Hotel, Makkah Al Rahma and the Park Inn by Radisson, Makkah Al Rahma are scheduled to open in Q2 2021. We are talking close to 2,500 rooms in Makkah alone,” he said. “Our largest hotel in our portfolio is Park Inn by Radisson Al Hajla with 1,600 rooms.”
Referring to both Madinah and Makkah, Milky said that the "more hotels you open, the more people you attract". He continued: “In the past there were not enough hotels to accommodate people coming to Makkah-Madinah.”
Talking about the Saudi Arabia market on the whole, Milky said that apart from expecting visitation to the holy city to grow, he also expects visa restrictions to Saudi Arabia to ease, allowing more visitors. “We also expect the population [of Saudi Arabia] to grow,” he added.
Milky said that Radisson began its expansion into Saudi Arabia before the country’s Vision 2030 initiative was announced. Vision 2030 is a plan to reduce Saudi Arabia's dependence on oil, diversify its economy, and develop public service sectors such as health, education, infrastructure, recreation and tourism.