The year 2018 will work positively for the two cities of Riyadh and Jeddah.
A new report published by Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) reported a forecast to see an increase of 16,000 new hotel rooms by 2018 for major cities of Saudi Arabia – Riyadh and Jeddah.
Of these, over 50% will be part of new five-star hotel developments. The number of rooms in Jeddah is expected to increase by 2,700 in 2015 alone.
Accor Group has plans to open nearly 10 hotels by 2018, InterContinental Hotels Group, which has 24 hotels throughout the Kingdom, has announced opening of a further nine outlets including the world’s largest Holiday Inn in Makkah.
Pascal Gauvin, chief operating office, India, Middle East & Africa at InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) said: “Saudi Arabia has been one of our strongest markets and a key focus for us within the region. Our largest presence in the Middle East is in Saudi Arabia with 24 hotels due to open.”
He further continued: “The positive reports we are seeing on projected growth in visitor arrivals contribute to our optimism for the market. The industry has forecast a 400% growth in domestic tourism to around 640 million nights by 2019. We are in a great position to cater for this growth with the opening of Holiday Inn Makkah in 2016, which will be the largest Holiday Inn hotel in the world with 1,238 rooms.”
Inbound tourism has historically been largely dependent on religious tourists travelling to Makkah and Madinah. However, in recent years an ambitious plan to bring in more foreign investment has led to various industrial areas including the King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), alongside large-scale expansion projects currently being carried out at the Holy Mosques, especially in Makkah.
Ismail AlAkamal, director at AlKamal International Saudi Arabia said: “One can hardly recognise Makkah’s city center anymore with the amount of demolition and construction work going on. From the Haram expansion, First Ring Road, King AbdulAziz Boulevard, Haramain High Speed Rail and Makka Metro project to the private sector developments such as Jabal Omar Development Project, Jabal Al Kabaa Project and many other independent developments around the central Haram area. Of course, this opens numerous opportunities for all verticals catering for this unique market and at the same time presents a few challenges.”