(MENAFN Press) Leading industry experts from Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry [JCCI] and Saudi Commission for Tourism & Antiquities [SCTA] are set to take centre stage at The Hotel Summit Saudi Arabia to be held on 18 and 19 November at the Park Hyatt Jeddah, in conjunction with The Hotel Show Saudi Arabia held at the Jeddah Center for Forums and Events from 17 to 19 November 2012.
In the recent years, the Kingdom's hospitality sector has witnessed a staggering expansion and continues to grow in tandem with inbound travel; which is also increasing, both in terms of Umrah and business visitors. According to Colliers International Report on Saudi Arabia hospitality, Jeddah saw the highest occupancy rates due to its domestic leisure travel and geographical position as the 'gateway to the holy city'.
The latest report by SCTA states that the Kingdom is expected to receive 88 million visitors by 2020, with Umrah accounting for around 16 million travelers by 2014, increasing the number of hotel employees from 10,200 to 18,600 in the same period creating 2.3 million jobs by 2020. In fact, there has been a sharp increase in the number of hotel rooms in the Makkah region, with many new projects announced in Jeddah, Makkah and Madinah.
Commenting on the Hotel Summit and the hospitality industry in Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Mazen Batterjee, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Jeddah, said: "With the long-term vision to boost the tourist influx from 47 million in 2008 to 88 million in 2020, the demand for hotel rooms is set to surge from 120,000 to 255,000. The Hotel Summit Saudi Arabia is a great point of convergence to define the strategic roadmap for the country's hospitality sector.
"We have introduced several initiatives that are aimed at promoting the tourism and hospitality industry in the Kingdom through training highly qualified staff capable of offering hospitality services of international standards."
In addition, fuelled by large“scale infrastructure developments and established Umrah and flourishing business travelers, many of the major hotel chains in Jeddah, Makkah and Madinah have embarked on a strategy of penetration, expansion and renovation of hospitality projects in the face of increased competition and demand for high-quality services and interiors by the international traveler.
In a recent report about trends on the GCC interior contracting and fit-out market, Ventures Middle East, knowledge partners of dmg::events, revealed that due to the increased supply of international brands offering nearly 3000 hotel rooms, Saudi Arabia's hospitality industry is now perceived by investors as the second most attractive of the GCC hospitality markets.
The Kingdom now boasts an impressive array of hotels with Swissotel Makkah, the largest hotel in the Kingdom, and the biggest entity of Swissotel Hotels and Resorts with 1487 rooms and suites. In addition 14 new Hilton hotels planned across the country in the next two years will also aim to recruit 40 per cent of employees for these hotels from within the country further contributing to Saudisation.
Mohammed Al-Amri, Executive Manager - Makkah Region, SCTA, said: "In view of the rising business tourism and exponential expansion of the hospitality industry, there are expectations of having more than 20,000 rooms till 2016, with the increasing number of workers in the field of tourism. The Hotel Show and Summit is an excellent platform to facilitate business, and provide networking opportunities for industry peers."
He further stressed the economic potential of this promising sector to create new jobs across various level as direct and indirect tourism related jobs in the various tourist activities to exceed the barrier of one million jobs by 2016 in Saudi Arabia.
The Hotel Summit, being held under the patronage of HRH Prince Sultan Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, President & Chairman of Board of Directors of SCTA, organised by MICE Arabia, co-organised by dmg::events, will debate the latest industry trends from across the globe and ways to leverage the know-how to boost the booming hospitality sector in the Kingdom.
It will encompass debates and panel discussions on Saudi Arabia's economic landscape and hospitality sector's viability, investment planning, strategy and expansion, brand consolidation strategies, operational excellence and trends. The Summit will also discuss a range of other topics, including regulatory mechanisms, HR, technology, innovation and other workshops.
Notable speakers at The Hotel Summit Saudi Arabia include Gerald Lawless, President & Group CEO, Jumeirah Group, Muhammad Al Amir, Owner, Riyada International Company & Vice Chairman “ Accommodation Advisory Board SCTA, Kevin Wallace, President & CEO, JA Resorts & Hotels, Peter Blackburn, CEO, Cristal Hospitality, and Tarek Elsherif, Managing Director, Five Continents Hospitality Management, among others.