Saudi hospitality sector receives another $399.7m in international investment

Saudi hospitality sector receives another $399.7m in international investment
Saudi hospitality sector receives another $399.7m in international investment

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - Wyndham Hotels banks on Kingdom’s demographic advantage to drive hospitality growth

RIYADH: As an increasing number of young Saudi nationals continue to see hospitality as a career, the sector is set for enormous growth, according to a top official of a global hotel chain preparing to expand its presence in the Kingdom.   

Dimitris Manikis, president of Europe, the Middle East, Eurasia and Africa at Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, was in Riyadh to attend the Future Hospitality Summit and told Arab News that the Kingdom clearly has a high level of interest and the academic investment required to go the distance.  

With this, he said the country has an edge over other nations, especially European ones, in the advancement of its hospitality sector, as well as its impact in achieving its Vision 2030 objectives. 

“The big difference and the big future that hospitality (sector) has in this country is the people,” said Manikis.  

With 13 Wyndham hotels operating in the Kingdom and another five planned in the upcoming month, the company is looking to capitalize on Saudi youth talent to expand its midscale offering in the Middle East. 

“To me, the people of Saudi Arabia, especially the young population, which is the youngest population in the region, see hospitality as a career. To me, that is the main element that gives enormous potential and an enormous kind of positive future,” he added.  

In December, Wyndham reintroduced direct franchising and management rights for the Ramada brand in Saudi Arabia.   

This announcement by the world’s largest hotel franchising company, with approximately 9,100 hotels across more than 95 countries, replaced exclusive master license agreements for the brand in the Kingdom.  

Ramada is Wyndham’s largest brand in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, with over 200 hotels in around 40 countries in the region, of which over 30 are in the Middle East and Africa alone.  

“We’re extremely excited to develop Ramada directly with all the new owners that we will have in the region and not just the Kingdom, but the whole of the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council),” noted Manikis. 

The FHS Saudi Arabia event features more than 100 speakers focused on the value of innovation, start-ups, sustainability, and human capital development.   

The conference, with the theme “Invest in Change,” is happening from May 7-9 at Al Faisaliah Hotel in Riyadh. 

Several regional and global organizations including NEOM, Rua Al Madinah Holding, and the Arab Institute for Women’s Empowerment are taking part in the event.

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