The Saudi Arabia Hospitality Investment Conference (SHIC) held in Riyadh has ended.
With the Saudi Vision 2030 and recent visa-changes, the announcements at the conference were far more leisure-focused than previous years. Hotel titans such as Accor, IHG, Hilton, Marriott and Millennium were all in attendance and all had ambitious plans to share.
The two-day event brought together hospitality professionals from around the region to unveil plans, network and discuss the future of Saudi's hospitality industry
Here's a rundown of the major announcements:
World’s largest Fairfield by Marriott hotel to open in Makkah
Marriott International signed a deal to open MENA’s first Fairfield by Marriott Hotel in Makkah, Saudi Arabia.
The hotel giant signed the deal with religious hospitality firm Nahdet Al-Mashaer; it will see the world’s largest Fairfield-branded property open, comprising 2,600 rooms.
Once completed, the hotel will feature five towers closely situated to the Grand Mosque, helping the group capitalise on the growing religious tourism market. The property has commenced construction and a 2023-opening is hoped.
The Fairfield by Marriott brand currently has a portfolio of more than 1,000 properties across the US, Latin America, Mexico and Asia.
Marriott International chief development officer, Middle East and Africa, Jerome Briet said: “We are thrilled to be working with Nahdet Al-Mashaer to create a distinctive Fairfield by Marriott that will serve Makkah, the sought-out destination for rising numbers of religious pilgrims.”
Millennium Hotels and Resorts to operate Saudi’s Millennium Central Jeddah
Millennium Hotels & Resorts Middle East signed its first Millennium Central property in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The property was signed in partnership with Hasaad Real Estate, at the Saudi Arabia Hospitality Investment Conference (SHIC).
Following the opening of the first Millennium Central hotel in Downtown Dubai just six months ago, Millennium Central Jeddah will mark the brand’s debut in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and is the fourth hotel in the Millennium Central brand portfolio.
A four-star hotel with 210 rooms and suites spread across two towers, the property will feature three food & beverage outlets, a swimming pool, a health club, three meeting rooms and an event hall with outdoor area.
Commenting on the signing, Millennium Hotels and Resorts MEA CEO, Kevork Deldelian said: “The signing of the Millennium Central Jeddah represents our ongoing commitment to development in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a market we have been operating in for five years.
Saudi Arabia to get two IHG hotels
The group signed a management agreement for InterContinental Dammam in partnership with Salem Mohammed Al Qahtani and one for Holiday Inn Riyadh Al Malaz in partnership with Saleh Alsalamah and Partner Companies.
Opening in 2024, InterContinental Dammam will be IHG’s first hotel in the city and will strengthen the company’s presence in KSA’s eastern provinces.
The property will feature 289 designed rooms and amenities including three restaurants, an outdoor pool and deck, an indoor pool, a gym and six well-equipped meeting rooms.
Hilton to open more than 50 hotels in Saudi Arabia
Hilton expects to “quadruple its portfolio” in Saudi Arabia in the next five years, officials revealed at SHIC.
The group will be opening more than 50 hotels across the Kingdom, with an addition of 16,000 rooms.
Hilton currently operates five brands in Saudi Arabia - Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton and Hilton Garden Inn. The group has also introduced new brands to the country, including its lifestyle brand, Canopy by Hilton, and its Embassy Suites by Hilton brand.
Commenting on Hilton’s growth in the country, the group’s vice president development Middle East and Africa, Carlos Khneisser said: “Saudi Arabia is an incredibly exciting and dynamic market. We are fully committed to supporting the Government’s approach to opening the country to tourism and its Vision 2030. We have a strategic approach to our brand deployment and growth in the country which enables us to offer our guests world-class products and experiences when they visit the country.”
Accor to outline plans for Saudi at SHIC
Accor highlighted it had signed an agreement to manage Novotel Residences Thakher City in Makkah, growing its portfolio in the Holy Cities to 11 rooms and 9,661 rooms. There is a further eight properties and 4,534 rooms pipelined in the Cities.
In 2019 alone, Accor’s properties in Makkah and Madinah saw close to four million guests, a figure the group hopes to grow.
Speaking about its presence at SHIC and in Saudi, Willis said: “SHIC’s theme, ‘Transform Tomorrow’, could not be more apt for Accor as we look to leverage our unrivalled portfolio of diverse brands and spearhead new lifestyle experiences that showcase and preserve the very best of Saudi Arabia.”
He continued: “As a key stakeholder in Vision 2030 and the kingdom’s leading operator, we are committed to setting new benchmarks in the hospitality sector, opening the eyes of the world to all that Saudi Arabia has to offer, from its stunning landscapes and heritage sites to its modern cities and world-class attractions and destinations.”