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2.3 Million Jobs Set to Open in Saudi Hospitality Industry

Saudi Arabia : 19 May 2011

The hospitality and hotel sector of the Kingdom is ready for 83 percent growth in the coming decade with over 255,000 rooms to open, according to dmg Dubai at Jeddah Hotel Show.

Saudi Arabia’s premiere Hotel and Hospitality Show shows that the hospitality, hotel and tourism sector is in a period of boom with over 127 percent growth in the last ten years. Expansion from this point will see 2.3 million jobs in Saudi available within the next decade, as stated by the SCTA (or Supreme Commission for Tourism and Antiquities).

The strong position of this industry is evidenced by the inaugural Saudi show focusing on the hotel and hospitality sector under the organization of dmg Dubai. Showcasing suppliers for those within the regional industry, this event is being held from November 12 to 14 in Jeddah at the Centre for Forums and Events.

The event is being launched during the industry’s ambitious expansion plans, aiming to create more than twice the amount of rooms in the Kingdom over the coming decade, reaching 255,000 rooms up from 120,000.

These efforts support the plans for Saudi tourism that are attempting to bring in 88 million tourists over the next decade, an increase from the 47 million recorded in 2008. The SCTA authorized over SR 334 million in contracts between last year and this year, driving the dynamic growth for this particular industry.

Inbound tourism in the Kingdom rose from the 2006 figures of 5.3 million to last year’s figure of 7.7 million. Across the region, Riyadh experienced the largest Gross Operating Profit in terms of available rooms, according to the exhibition director for the show Frederique Maurell.

Throughout this year there will be 48 hotels opening making 14,000 rooms available with a value of $7.3 billion. The Kingdom will experience one of the Gulf’s highest level of hotel projects set for completion this year.

Chain hotels such as Raffles, Rezidor, Hyatt and Starwood now have a presence in Saudi Arabia, as well as regional firms like Rotana, after the opening of various locations over the course of 2009 and 2010.

Based on the highly successful Dubai Hotel Show, the Jeddah event includes platforms and opportunities for hotel operators, as well as property owners, suppliers, service providers, MICE and food & beverage companies.

It is anticipated that over 100 exhibitors will set up in an area covering more than 8,500 square meters. The Hotel & Hospitality Show Saudi Arabia will offer an agenda of workshops and training that are industry-focused, as well as an internationals spotlight, according to Maurell.

The increasing number of visitors to the Kingdom are partially due to the 3.8 million religious travelers who visited Makkah during Haj and Umrah last year. This is evidenced by the issuance of construction licenses for 500 hotels surrounding Makkah’s Grand Mosque, handed out by the area’s Chamber of Commerce & Industry. One of these includes 5,000 rooms, a massive amount that reflects that large levels of expansion in the Saudi tourism sector.

It was announced earlier this week that 12 new hotels are being developed by Hilton, Hyatt and Marriott in the Makkah area.

Religious tourism is certainly the most rapidly expanding segment of the industry as right now the Kingdom ranks at number 25 in the world. A room shortage exists around the Kingdom, including properties across the spectrum from two-star to five-star facilities, according to the CEO of MICE Arabia Group, Elie I Rizk. They were also involved in the organization of the Saudi Arabian show.

Business tourism is increasing as well, as over $13 billion marked for infrastructure spending draws more and more business travelers. The Kingdom continues to improve in the rankings for the Ease of Doing Business index put out by the World Bank. Saudi currently sits just outside of the top ten and continues to attract business travelers.

The vital role of the Hotel Show goes beyond being a driving force in hospitality-related businesses around the region and the world. It also affects the economy of the Kingdom as a whole. The SCTA and the hospitality industry are integral to the growth of the workforce, meeting current as well as future demands.

Paul Holdsworth, Staff Writer, Gulf Jobs Market News
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