(MENAFN - Arab News) The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto considers Saudi Arabia as its biggest market in the region not only because of its strong economy and growing population, but also because Saudis have a thirst for global travel.
"Middle East, especially Saudi travelers, continues to be one of the most important source markets for the global luxury travel and hotel industry. Saudi nationals have been checking in with us since the hotel was established three years ago but there's still a great potential for us as far as the Kingdom is concerned," Tim Terceira, GM, Ritz-Carlton, Toronto, told Arab News in an exclusive interview.
Based on his meetings with them during his trips to the Kingdom, he stated that Saudis are very hospitable and they expect the same whenever they visit a foreign country.
"We at the Ritz-Carlton are in the service industry. Customers are the first and foremost in our mind. So we welcome them with hospitality in such a way that we become more than just a hotel, but a memory that will last a lifetime with them and their families," Terceira said.
As a result, he said the Toronto upmarket facility has been registering positive results since it was established three years ago to meet the growing need for additional hotel rooms.
"We're the industry leader, according to Travel & Leisure Magazine. In the first year of operation, Ritz-Carlton Toronto posted a 70-percent occupancy rate. It has also surpassed its pro forma budget," Terceira added.
Terceira and Daniel Newberry, director of sales and marketing, arrived in Riyadh last week to meet with local counterparts who included industry leaders, travel agents, food suppliers and others.
"During our visits with local industry leaders, we received an enthusiastic response, especially from the travel agents who promised to endorse the Ritz-Carlton, Toronto among travelers from Saudi Arabia. Their support has been heartwarming indeed," he said.
He added that Toronto is becoming a favorite destination for many Saudi travelers. Many of them have their children studying in the city. At present there are some 16,000 students in Canada and 1,800 of them are in Toronto, dubbed as the "Manhattan of Canada (financial district)."
He said: "To ensure that guests traveling from Saudi Arabia and the Middle East receive the full Ritz-Carlton experience, the Ritz-Carlton, Toronto offers exceptional accommodation and personal amenities, which specifically cater to their needs. This includes Arabic language television channels and newspaper options on an in-room iPad, welcome and turndown amenities featuring preferred floral and fragrance, Qur'an and prayer carpet, Qiblah directional arrow place in-suite, prayer beads, and regional culinary favorites from an award-winning culinary team with extensive Middle Eastern experience."
Terceira said: "As Toronto's most centrally located luxury hotel, the Ritz-Carlton is only a few steps away from the country's central banking district, world-renowned medical centers, cultural and family attractions, amusement parks and premium shopping."