JEDDAH: NADIM AL-HAMID
Published — Wednesday 27 February 2013
Last update 27 February 2013 1:52 am
The hospitality sector in the Kingdom is booming with investments surpassing SR 800 billion. The implementation of an expansion strategy and the upgrade of the sector’s projects helped achieve this. Another factor is a strong competition powered by an increased demand for high-quality services. The boom in the sector helped create many jobs for young Saudis.
The Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Hospitality Committee recently approved the launch of the Kingdom’s first “Best Restaurant and Coffee Shop Award” competition 2012 as part of the chamber’s role in developing and encouraging all activities of the sector of business.
Khaled bin Fahad Al-Harthi, chairman of the Hospitality Committee, said the industry is one of the most important in the world. It saw a massive growth as a result of increased international trade activities. This and the growth of the tourism industry and the improvement of hospitality services made the committee launch the contest to create more competition among restaurants and coffee shops and as an incentive for them to provide high-quality services.
“The Saudi tourism market is in need of 974,000 jobs in various fields. The JCCI’s hospitality committee has a big role to play in that regard. It recommended the establishment of a specialist institute in coordination with the Ministry of Labor and in cooperation with an international specialist institute. It also recommended filing a request with Minister of Labor Adel Fakeih regarding the current requirements of the sector and the issuance of restaurant guide. The committee plans to issue a guide in due course. Initially, we will print 100,000 copies containing the names and addresses of all restaurants in Jeddah. The committee plans to visit Jeddah’s Technical College to discuss a way of cooperation whereby graduates benefit the sector.”
The vision of the JCCI’s Hospitality Committee is to have a hospitality sector that introduces a distinguished service reflecting on tourism and influencing the national economy positively. This would be carried out through serving the sector in a way that meets the interests of restaurants and coffee shop investors and improves the industry in general at the same time.
Al-Harthi said the committee is determined to overcome any obstruction to the sector and constantly be in touch with restaurants and coffee shops to closely recognize their problems and discuss solutions, incentives and ways to improve the level of their productivity and services.
Adnan bin Hussien Mandura, secretary-general of the JCCI, said the award would not include sums of money but a shield and a certificate. He said that 300 establishments would enter the competition’s five categories: Luxurious, convenient, popular, and fast food restaurants and coffee shops. First, second and third place winners of each category would be honored on May 27 at the Sheikh Ismael Abu Dawood Hall at the JCCI.