Arabian Hotel Investment Conference

April 2020 | United Arab Emirates

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The Saudi Hotel Investment Conference (SHIC) 2018 launches for the first time in the Kingdom

Posted on March 05, 2018

143 hotels are expected to open in 2018 with an estimated investment of SR 143.9 Billion Saudi Riyals

 Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, March 5, 2018:

The Saudi Hotel Investment Conference (SHIC) 2018, was launched under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Chairman of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH). The conference showcased the latest opportunities in the hospitality investment industry, in the presence of industry experts from the MENA region.

Held under the theme “Focus on the Future”, SHIC was hosted for the first time in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by strategic partner Dur Hospitality, in corporation with organizer Saudi Event Management and Marketing (SEMARK) and co-organizer Bench Events and MEED at the Riyadh Marriott Hotel.

Delivering the opening speech on behalf of His Royal Highness Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, His Excellency Dr. Hamad Al-Ismael, the Vice President of SCTH, praised the Kingdom’s progress in the tourism and hospitality sector through mega projects implemented within the National Transformation Program (NTP) and Vision 2030.

He explained the vital and dynamic role played by SCTH in creating a suitable development and investment environment, which contributes towards the increase of tourism establishments and investment opportunities in Saudi Arabia, alongside the entry of more than 40 global brands operating in different regions of the Kingdom, in accordance with global standards. SCTH encourages the private sector to play a bigger role in the industry by providing them with beneficial incentives, in order to further boost investments in the industry.

Al-Ismael added that SCTH, along with the approval of the Ministry of Finance, provided loans through the program for tourism and accommodation projects, which is dedicated to schemes located within cities and provinces that are less developed, have a great tourism potential and a population of less than one million. The loans offered are worth up to 50 percent of the cost of the project which amounts to 100 million Saudi Riyals.

In its first edition, SHIC was attended by dignitaries and hospitality leaders, and aimed to provide all stakeholders in the hospitality sector with the necessary information about the industry and its investment opportunities, in line with the NTP and Vision 2030. Key topics relating  to the tourism and hospitality sector were discussed during the conference, showcasing the experience and journey of key industry players, offering an overview of the hospitality investment environment in Saudi Arabia and exploring potential avenues of development in the industry.

Dr. Badr Al Badr, CEO at Dur Hospitality, expressed his delight to host this conference, noting the importance of having similar events in Saudi Arabia, especially during a time when cities are significantly developing and boosting local tourism.

During his welcome address, he said that, “despite the challenges we have witnessed, the demand for hotel rooms, which currently stands at 84,000, is expected to increase with the addition of 64,000 new rooms, out of which 40,000 are under construction”.

He added that, “the Saudi market is a hotspot with plenty of opportunities opening up in the tourism and hospitality sector, subsequently attracting multinational companies following the new regulations on foreign investments in the Kingdom”. He also praised the efforts of SCTH in paving the way to creating a milestone for the Kingdom’s hospitality industry, while also positioning the industry as a key contributor to the economy, in line with the goals of Vision 2030 that aims to uplift the tourism sector. ‏

Jonathan Worsley, Chairman and Founder of SHIC and its parent event, the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) 2018, praised the efforts that are contributing to the growth of the hospitality sector in most cities of the Kingdom, especially in the region of Mekkah and Al Medina which is witnessing a high demand for religious tourism. While highlighting the many investment opportunities in the sector, for both hotels and serviced apartments, he expressed his expectations in witnessing a remarkable growth in three and four-star hotels within next three years, which would result in a significant demand shift for this category in comparison to luxury hotels. The conference also saw the participation of prominent local and international speakers including: Gerald Lawless, Chairman, World Travel & Tourism Council Pascal Gauvin – Managing Director, India & MEA, IHG; Alex Kyriakidis, President and Managing Director - MEA, Marriott International; and Olivier Granet, Chief Executive Officer, Middle East and Africa, Accor Hotels.

Visions and trends of the tourism and hospitality sector were also assessed during the conference, noting some of the most attractive destinations, projects and initiatives in the Kingdom that drive domestic tourism across the country, as well as finance, investment, asset management, and best practices in hospitality asset development.

According to SCTH, the number of international companies that are operating tourism facilities in the Saudi market has increased from 20 in 2008 to 32 in 2017. The number of hotels in the Kingdom has also increased from 1465 in 2014 to 1624 at the beginning of 2017. Additionally, approximately 60 percent of the hotel facilities currently under construction in Saudi Arabia (total of 143) are expected to open in 2018.

The report issued by SCTH also foresees the opening of hotels from different categories with an investment of 143.9 billion riyals by the year 2020.

Notes to Editors 

 About SHIC 2018 

SHIC is a one-day knowledge and networking event for hotel investment industry leaders and influential figures from government, technology, construction and design to discuss and share hospitality investment opportunities in Saudi Arabia. Organised by Saudi Event Management and Marketing (SEMARK), and co-organised by the team behind AHIC, SHIC’s mission is to connect hotel investors owners, developers and operators to help further the growth of the hospitality industry in the Kingdom. The inaugural edition of SHIC was hosted by strategic partner DUR Hospitality on 26 February 2018 at the Marriott Convention Center at the Riyadh Marriott Hotel. 

 About AHIC 2018 

AHIC, now in its 14th year, is the annual gathering for the Middle East’s hospitality investment community organized by global hotel investment event organizer Bench Events in partnership with MEED Events. AHIC creates a knowledge and networking platform for global and regional investors of all backgrounds, offering essential insights to investing in hotels, showcasing regional and international hospitality investment opportunities and facilitating direct connections with hospitality industry stakeholders.

AHIC 2018 will be held in a purpose-built AHIC Village on the beach of the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, from 17 April to 19 April 2018 in partnership with Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA). Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, AHIC 2018 will be co-hosted by its founding patron, His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Airports, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman and CEO of Emirates Airline and Group, whose continued support of the industry and AHIC has been critical to the region’s tourism growth. 

AHIC 2018 Sponsors 

AHIC 2018 is hosted by Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority. Sponsors include: Al Marjan Island, Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), Hilton and The Rezidor Hotel Group as Platinum Sponsors; Dur Hospitality, Emaar Hospitality Group, (IHG) InterContinental Hotels Group, IWG (Insignia Worldwide Group) and Wyndham Hotel Group as Emerald Sponsors; and Action Hotels, Colliers International, Louvre Hotels Group, Melia Hotels International, STR and Time Hotels as Gold Sponsors. 

About Bench Events 

Global event organiser Bench Events has a long track record of delivering multiple premium hotel investment conferences and forums across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America. Market leading annual conferences include the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) in Dubai, now in its 14th year, the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) the new Asia Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference (AHTIC), >span class="normaltextrun"> in London and the Latin American Hotel & Tourism Investment Conferences (SAHIC). Bench Events’ extensive portfolio also includes the Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF) in Dubai and AviaDev, designed to promote the future air connectivity in Africa. Bench Events’ mission is enabling prosperity by facilitating growth, networking, and thought leadership in the hospitality industry worldwide. 

About MEED 

MEED is a remarkable senior management media brand, that encompasses subscription to the MEED Business Review publication and website,, as well as organising the MEED Quality Awards for Projects, AHIC and Innovation Live! MEED also works with clients on bespoke content, events, broadcast and digital offerings.  MEED also has two high-value content businesses, MEED Projects and MEED Insight. MEED Projects is the Middle East's premium project tracking database and MEED Insight offers tailored research and in-depth analysis. Established in 1957, MEED, has been integral to delivering business information and news, intelligence and analysis on the Middle East economies and activities ever since. 

About Dur Hospitality 

Dur Hospitality is a publicly listed Saudi hospitality company established in 1976, that owns, develops, and manages a broad range of hospitality and residential properties across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Its 2.37 billion Riyals diversified portfolio encompasses more than 20 properties, in addition 21 projects under development. In 1983, Dur hospitality launched its first Saudi Hotel brand, “Makarem Hotels”, the award winning local brand specialized in delivering Saudi authentic hospitality services as per the international standards, in the Holy cities of Makkah and Madina. Additionally, Dur operates hotels across Saudi Arabia through its franchise agreements with IHG and Marriott International. 

In the real estate sector, Dur designs, develops and manages residential communities, employing its extended background in hospitality to offer integrated facility management services under its own Brand “Dur Communities”.