With around USD 110 billion pegged for the hospitality industry and a further 310,000 hotel rooms in the pipeline, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is undergoing a transformative boom as it aggressively looks to lead the global travel and hospitality industry.
Over the last few years, as part of its social and economic blueprint Vision 2030, the Kingdom has made significant strides in its hospitality industry with the government looking to attract 100 million visitors per year within the next decade, investing billions in hotel construction and infrastructure, and building brand new sustainable cities along its coasts and deserts while attracting a swathe of foreign investment. Today, the country leads the Middle East and African region and is behind only China and the US in the global hotel construction market.
Looking to put the spotlight on the Kingdom’s multi-billion-dollar hospitality plans, and highlight game-changing trends is the Hotel & Hospitality Expo, brought to you by The Hotel Show, which takes place at the Riyadh Front Exhibition & Conference Centre from the 10th -12th September. With organisers rebranding The Hotel Show Saudi Arabia to the Hotel & Hospitality Expo to better reflect the current trends and landscape of the hospitality industry, the show will remain the leading event for all things related to the hospitality sector in the Kingdom.
“To better focus and grow our attention in the hotel and hospitality industry, The Hotel Show Saudi Arabia has undergone a rebrand,” said Elaine O’Connell, Vice President Design and Hospitality of dmg events, which organises the Hotel & Hospitality Expo. “We’ve modernised the event to reflect the latest trends in the industry, and we’re confident that this fresh approach will make it an even more engaging and enjoyable experience for everyone involved. The rebrand also means that there is increased visibility and access to a highly engaged and relevant audience, which we believe will help our stakeholders and exhibitors grow their business and establish new partnerships.”
Co-located with INDEX Saudi Arabia and the Lighting Design & Technology Expo, the show connects manufacturers and suppliers in the hotel and hospitality industry with buyers in the Kingdom.
Revealing the headlining themes in the hospitality industry this year was the show’s advisory board which brought together the Kingdom’s foremost hospitality experts to discuss current market dynamics and trends, identify the industry’s challenges and solutions, and map out the future of the hotel and hospitality landscape in the country. The findings revealed that sustainability, Saudi tourism, supply chain and logistics, developing funding and financing, cultivating skills and honing talent, and looking at how big brands can support and drive the local economy, are among the major trends in the hotel and hospitality industry in Saudi Arabia in 2023.
Advisory board members comprised Saudi Arabia’s notable hospitality experts including: Richard Adam, Director Destination Strategy & Commercial Development AFI, NEOM; Tom Stevens, Vice President Operations, Rotana Hotel Management Corporation; Imran Changezi Senior Director Hospitality Development, Diryah Gate Company; Nadeem Zaman, Chief Advisor to the Minister, Ministry of Investment, Saudi Arabia; Saeed Albially, Vice President Development, Knowledge Economic City; Alessandro Maria Tedesco, Chief Operating Officer, Febc Group; Rabih Feghali, Senior Director Hospitality, Red Sea Global, Amit Nayak, Vice President, Hospitality Asset Managers Association, HAMA; Dr Ayman Alwaleedi, Project Development – Executive Director, Rua Al Madinah Holding Company; Jean-Baptiste Recher, Regional Vice President Development Luxury Brands MEAT, Accor.
The findings will be used to shape the agenda of the Hospitality Leaders’ Summit, which will be held over three days at the Hotel & Hospitality Expo. The Summit will feature government and private sector experts from across the Middle East and Saudi Arabia who will explore the current hospitality industry and offer insight into the industry’s future through presentations, panel discussions, and keynote addresses.
According to real estate consultant Knight Frank, there are currently 129,000 hotel and serviced apartment rooms in Saudi Arabia but predictions over the next seven years sees the figure jump to 212,000 rooms.
“We’re seeing an increased demand in the hospitality sector in Saudi Arabia and it is creating immense opportunities for investment and global partnerships in key cities in the country,” added O’Connell. “At this year’s Expo, we want to highlight the opportunities available out there, look at solutions to any challenges, reveal what the future of the industry will look like and move the needle forward in the hospitality industry.”
Other features at this year’s Expo includes the popular 5th edition of the Chefs’ Mystery Box Challenge, which sees 8-12 teams from the region’s leading hotels and restaurants go head-to-head in a culinary battle as they create a three-course meal from a mystery ingredients box. The competition will be headed by Chef Yasser, President and Founder of Saudi Arabian Chefs Association and dmg Events and will feature a selection of judges who will score teams based on presentation and taste.
Also, on the cards this year is the Saudi Hospitality Talent Awards, which recognises the skill, talent and sheer brilliance of hardworking individuals from Saudi Arabia’s hospitality sector. From categories like Restaurateur of the Year, Housekeeping Star, and Front off the House, the awards provide an opportunity to honour Saudi nationals from the hospitality industry.