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In Preparation for the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC 2013)
Organizers Hold Briefings to Discuss Key Industry Updates and
Statistics for the Saudi Arabian Hotel Market

AHIC 2013 to Occur May 4-6, 2013

Riyadh, 31 January 2013:
The organisers of the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC 2013) held an invitation only business breakfast briefing at the Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh yesterday, to share their views into Saudi Arabia’s rapidly growing hotel market and offer an insight for existing and potential local investors on the key industry updates and statistics.

This exclusive briefing was hosted by Alex Kyriakidis, President & Managing Director of Continent, Marriott International Inc., who discussed opportunities and challenges of hotels as an Asset Class in Saudi Arabia.

Alex said: “KSA is a top priority growth market for Marriott International. STR report showed that the KSA room supply is around 50,000 operating rooms and a further 25,000 rooms under construction, which in total represents less than 1,875 rooms per million domestic and international travellers combined, a ratio which is significantly lower than mature markets. With exponential growth projected for both inbound and domestic travel, driven by a number of large scale projects such as the expansion of the Holy Mosques in Makkah and Medinah as well as a number of economic/industrial cities throughout the country and large infrastructure projects such as railroads and airports, the potential of the KSA market is to more than double in size by 2020.

He continued: “Our target is to grow our current portfolio of 4,056 operating and pipeline rooms to over 10,000 by 2020. Among our investors, we are seeing a new generation of analytical and business savvy entrepreneurs who have built up their own hospitality expertise and are also far more cautious since the economic crash about their investments demanding accountability, value, greater profitability and ROI from the partnership with the hotel operator.”

The discussion also showed that the approach to developing brands and segmentation within hospitality investments has shifted from an emotional (usually luxury oriented projects) to a more business oriented one, where upscale hotels also offer a good investment opportunity.

Influential names in the Middle East hospitality industry have also participated in this event, including: Badr Al Badr, Chief Executive Officer of Saudi Hotels & Resorts Co. SHARACO, Gabriel Matar, Head of Hotels & Hospitality, Middle East & Africa, Jones Lang La Salle and Philip Wooller, Area Director of Middle East & Africa of STR Global.

Philip, who gave a review presentation on the whole MENA region and particularly KSA, commented: “The Hotel Performance of some of the key cities in Saudi Arabia are comparable with the well established cities of London, Paris, Tokyo and New York with Jeddah achieving similar occupancies and Riyadh surpassing the Average Rate. The next two to three years will see a considerable increase in hotel room supply particularly in Riyadh, Jeddah and Makkah but with the large government supported projects across the country I see no reason why demand will not keep pace with the new supply.

The event also included a session on on regulation and government incentives for the hotel sector in Saudi Arabia that included a conversation between Muhammad Al-Amir, Managing Director of Riyada International Hotels & Resorts and Dr Salah Al-Bukayyet, Deputy Secretary General of Investments of Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA).

In the session, Dr. Salah said that government plays a very important role in accelerating hotels’ growth of inbound and domestic tourism. The tourism vision of the Kingdom is based on a comprehensive framework of policies and principles of sustainability and economic feasibility, and SCTA’s mission is to facilitate this sustainable and balanced tourism development through the formulation of clear-cut policies in close partnership with industry leaders and private sector and strengthen this nascent industry to achieve a highest degree of self-sufficiency.

Jonathan Worsley, Chairman, Bench Events commented: “AHIC this year has dedicated a number of pre-event business briefings in a number of significant countries in the region, to focus on current issues and opportunities in them. KSA was on top of our list because Saudi hotel development is witnessing a sustained upswing with the numerous large scale projects and the constant flow of religious tourists into the country. Additionally, the tourism industry has consistently been a key contributor to the KSA economy and pillar of the government's economic diversification program.”

In line with that, the main AHIC 2013 Conference will exclusively include a symposium on Saudi Arabia.. The symposium will also offer an excellent opportunity to hotel owners, developers and investors to learn how their business can benefit from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s phenomenal growth.

AHIC 2013, which is organised by MEED and Bench Events, will take place at the Madinat Jumeirah from 5-6 May 2013. The conference will include key participants such Jumeriah Group, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, IHG, Corinthia Hotels, IFA Hotel Investments, Marriott International, SMIT, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Wyndham Worldwide, Hilton Worldwide, ACCOR, Citymax Hotels, Fairmont Hotel & Resorts, Raffles Hotels & Resorts, Argentina National Institute of Tourism Promotion, , Golden Tulip Hotels MENA, HVS, Jones Lang LaSalle, Melia Hotels International, Orient Express Hotels, Premier Inn, Quadriga, STR Global, Saudi Commission for Tourism & Antiquities, Turnkey Ventures and WATG.

Bench Events
Bench Events has a long track record in hosting the premier hotel investment events in Europe and the Middle East. Bench Events’ Chairman, Jonathan Worsley, is one of the organisers and founders of the highly successful International Hotel Investment Forum now in its thirteenth year ( In 2005, he was responsible for launching the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference in Dubai (; in 2008 launched the Russia & CIS Hotel Investment Conference ( and in 2011 will premier the Central Asia and Turkey Hotel Investment Conference (  Bench Events’ sister company, JW Bench, is a benchmarking company that has successfully launched the Conference Bench and the Productivity Bench. An industry first, the Conference Bench, measures performance data for conference and banqueting space in 10 cities throughout Europe and the Middle East.

About MEED

For 50 years business leaders have been relying on MEED (Middle East Economic Digest) to give them a wealth of factual, unbiased business information that they need to be successful. The MEED brand represents an unrivalled portfolio of high calibre business information products, online services and premier networking events.

MEED Conferences is part of the leading information brand in the Middle East working to provide delegates with the very latest business sensitive information. Over the past 12 years, MEED Conferences has organised events attended by senior government officials and thousands of international business people. The conference series is aimed at companies actively seeking business in the markets of the Middle East. MEED is well established as the source of strategic and accurate regional information placing it in a unique position to bring together high-calibre speakers.


Rosemary Youssef
+971 50 354 8805

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Also See: Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) 2011 Presents His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum with Their Inaugural ‘Outstanding Achievement Award’ and Gerald Lawless with Their ‘Leadership Award’ / May 2011

Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC 2011) Highlights Growth Potential in Saudi Hotel Market Indicating a Need for 230,000 Hotel Rooms By 2020 To Meet Tourism Demands / April 2011

Arabian Hotel Investment Conference Speakers Indicate the Hospitality Industry will Continue to Lead Recovery in United Arab Emirates in 2011 / March 2011

Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC 2011) to Feature Hotel Industry Leaders Discussions on Impact of Ongoing Political Change in the MENA Region / March 2011

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