According to a recent report: “Saudi Arabia Hotel Construction Overview” by TopHotel Projects almost 60 percent of Saudi Arabia’s current construction pipeline of 143 hotels is forecast to open in 2018.
Released ahead of the Hotel Show Saudi Arabia last April, the report revealed that 84 hotels comprising 27,281 rooms will open throughout the kingdom this year. Riyadh, Jeddah, Mecca and Al Khobar remain the busiest areas for hotel construction. Each of these cities rank highly in the Middle East’s top ten most active cities for hospitality development, sitting third, fourth, sixth and tenth respectively.
Hilton is identified in the report as the brand with the most hotel developments currently underway. Kamel Ajami, Hilton’s VP of Operations, KSA & Levant Hilton commented: “Saudi Arabia is one of the most important markets in this region, with new legislation and government reforms making the kingdom more accessible than ever. It represents our largest development pipeline in the Middle East.” Hilton currently has 30 hotels under development in 12 different cities and expects to see three new hotels open this year: DoubleTree by Hilton in Mecca’s Jabal Omar development, a midscale Hilton Garden Inn in Al Khobar, and a Hilton in Riyadh. Between them they will add over 1,500 rooms to the company’s footprint across the country.
Swiss-Belhotel International will also open three new hotels in the Kingdom in 2018 – two in Riyadh and another in Mecca scheduled for later this year.“Saudi Arabia is a market that is currently undersupplied in terms of hotels,” said Laurent A. Voivenel, Senior VP, Operations & Development for the Middle East, Africa & India, Swiss-Belhotel International.
Gary Williams, Event Director of the Hotel Show Saudi Arabia said that alongside a continued focus on the holy cities, it was clear that hospitality developments in the pipeline for the kingdom were being designed to cater to a wider range of travellers including domestic and international business and leisure tourists“Dubai-based Rove Hotels has just announced that construction will begin on its first hotel in the kingdom this year” Williams noted. “The midscale, lifestyle hotel brand will cater to tech-savvy millennial travellers and will be based at King Abdullah Economic City – fast becoming the kingdom’s hub for business and leisure. Meanwhile, major international brands are focusing on areas such as Al Khobar and Jazan City, close to the Persian Gulf and Red Sea coasts respectively, which offer access to the beach and a growing number of leisure and cultural activities.”
The tourism sector has been identified by the Saudi government as a key driver for growth in the kingdom’s Vision 2030 economic diversification strategy which contains major initiatives to stimulate the travel and tourism industry. In addition to large scale hotel construction, major transport infrastructure projects including the new airport in Jeddah and the Haramain High Speed Rail Project, launching this year, will also have a big impact. The government is also investing significantly in large-scale leisure, culture and entertainment projects.