Hotel deal to provide jobs for hundreds of nationals

Updated 17 December 2014

Hotel deal to provide jobs for hundreds of nationals

Three hundred Saudi youth are to be employed in the hospitality sector under a new franchise system agreed between two of the industry's biggest players.
Addressing a press conference in Riyadh on Sunday, Abdullah bin Mohammed Al-Issa, chairman of Dur Hospitality Company, said the cooperation between his company and the Inter Continental Hotels Group (IHG) would create 300 new positions for the locals.
Al-Issa spoke to the press on Sunday following the signing of a formal agreement between his company and the IHG for the franchising of Holiday Inn and its suites throughout the Kingdom. Under the new franchise plan, signatories expect to enhance the brand’s footprint in the Kingdom by developing a number of Holiday Inn & Suites branded hotels across the country in the course of the next five years.
"This new franchise will definitely strengthen Dur’s financial position and its investment’s leadership in the hospitality sector based on the upcoming investments in a number of new hotels in several cities in the Kingdom. We have seen the success IHG has had in KSA and their competition capabilities to have a noticeable market share, and these are the main reasons that led to our partnership”, declared Al-Issa.
The growth of tourism in the country and the increase in demand for hotel rooms and hospitality services have led to the rise in investments in this sector, as expectations for further growth will exceed SR95 billion within the next 10 years. "However, and as we announced previously, Dur Hospitality will invest more than SR1.5 billion in the development of new projects in the upcoming five years,” he added.
Badr bin Hmoud Al-Badr, CEO of Dur Hospitality, expressed his optimism toward the constant growth in the hotel sector due to the increasing number of foreign businessmen who visit KSA or those who are moving within the cities. Another main reason, Al-Badr explained, is the tremendous growth in the religious tourism sector.
However, Al-Badr recalled the statistics and reports that indicated that more than 350,000 new hotel rooms will be available in Saudi Arabia by the end of 2015 after the implementation of a large number of hotel projects that are currently being developed in several areas.
On the issue of the causes of the continuous growth and demand in hotel sector, Al-Bader explained that the government’s direction to diversify the sources of national income from oil was a key motivation for the overall economic development taking place in Saudi Arabia. This development can be seen through the growth of several sectors such as industry, commerce, education, services, transportation and others, including the tourism sector, especially in light of the current gigantic projects that are designed to enlarge infrastructure in all regions.
Pascal Gauvin, IHG's chief operating officer for India, Middle East and Africa, declared that Saudi Arabia is a main player in the regional hospitality sector. “We have been operating in Saudi Arabia for the last 40 years and this represents a key market for us as it holds our largest pipeline in the Middle East."

World Cup 2018: A Muslim-friendly travel guide

Updated 13 June 2018

World Cup 2018: A Muslim-friendly travel guide


Both Tunisia and Iran are based in the vibrant 800-year-old Russian capital, renowned for its golden domes and stunning orthodox architecture. It is home to the famous Russian ballet and a wealth of art, culture and iconic scenery, including the breathtaking Red Square. A truly multicultural capital, Moscow is home to a sizeable Muslim community, which first began to settle here around the time of the Golden Horde. If you want to explore some of the capital’s Islamic heritage, visit the historic Muslim area, Zamoskvorechie, and head for the ‘Historical Mosque,’ built in 1823 by Muslim tatars. Reopened in 1993 after a lengthy closure under communism, the mosque has recently undergone a major refurbishment. Along with the 10k-capacity Moscow Cathedral Mosque (pictured), it is the capital’s most significant Muslim building.
Halal Food: You’ll find plenty on offer, from highly rated restaurants including Mr. Livanets (Lebanese), Dyushes (Azerbaijani), and Gandhara (Asian) to halal food carts.
Mosque: The Moscow Cathedral Mosque on Pereulok Vypolzov.
Qibla: South.

Saint Petersburg

Saudi Arabia’s national team will be based in this bastion of Russian imperialism, known as the Russian ‘Venice’ for its stunning network of canals, neo-Renaissance architecture and its plethora of culture, arts and all things splendid. Visitors can enjoy a wealth of museums, galleries, open promenades and the finest dining in the northern hemisphere — talking of which, sun lovers will be delighted to know that during the World Cup the sun will barely dip below the horizon. Muslim visitors should not miss the St. Petersburg Mosque’s sumptuous Central Asian architecture and mesmeric blue tiles (pictured) — a design inspired by Tamerlane’s tomb in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.
Halal Food: Limited, in comparison to Moscow, but both Eastern European restaurant Navruz and Oh! Mumbai (Indian) have received generally positive online reviews.
Mosque: St. Petersburg Mosque on Kronverkskiy Prospekt.
Qibla: South-east.


Egypt’s ‘Pharaohs’ should feel right at home in the Chechen capital, which is home to a huge Muslim population (its coat of arms features a mosque), making it one of the most halal-friendly destinations on our list. The mosque in question is the city’s flagship monument and main tourist attraction, the Ottoman-style Akhmad Kadyrov Mosque. Modelled on Istanbul’s Sultanahmet Mosque and sited in a serene location on the west bank of the Sunzha River, it is part of an ‘Islamic’ complex also housing the Russian Islamic University, Kunta Hajji, and is the spiritual headquarters for the Muslims of the Chechen Republic. Much of Grozny is still being rebuilt after being virtually destroyed in two wars with Russia in the 1990s and 2000s, much of it through investment from the UAE.
Halal Food: Chechnya is majority-Muslim, so you’ll be spoiled for choice, from fast-food chain Ilis to high-end restaurants in five-star hotels.
Mosque: Akhmad Kadyrov on Prospekt Putina.
Qibla: South-west.


Morocco are based in quiet (at least until the tournament starts), picturesque Voronezh. The city is littered with lush green spaces and stunning churches. It’s home to a large orthodox Christian community, as well as small Jewish and still-smaller Muslim ones. The city’s beautiful 114-year-old synagogue on Ulitsa Svobody is a popular tourist attraction. Those looking for more ‘familiar’ heritage should head to the Kramskoy Museum of Fine Arts on Revolyutsii Avenue, home to an impressive collection of ancient Egyptian works of art on stone and sarcophagi.
Halal Food: Very sparse. The Asian restaurant Bahor bills itself as offering the “only halal food in Voronezh,” and there are reportedly a couple of grocery stores selling halal meat, one in the city’s central market.
Mosque: While no official mosque has yet been built in Voronezh, Muslims do gather to pray. According to, there is an informal mosque on Ulitsa Gvardeyskaya.
Qibla: South.


Essentuki, which will host Nigeria in its Pontos Plaza Hotel (pictured), is famous for its health spas and mineral water, so the 'Super Eagles' should at least be able to relax after their games. Muslim visitors may want to drop by Kurortny Park, where the drinking gallery was inspired by Islamic Moorish design.
Halal Food: Hard to find. There is a kebab house that may be able to provide halal options. Otherwise, head to the area around the mosque in nearby Pyatigorsk.
Mosque: The nearest mosque is 25 minutes drive west in Pyatigorsk, on Skvoznoy Pereulok.
Qibla: Southwest.


It’s all about space exploration in the city where Senegal will be based. Space travel pioneer Konstantin Tsiolkovsky taught in Kaluga in his early years. The town’s main attraction — unsurprisingly — is the Tsiolkovsky State Museum of the History of Cosmonautics, reportedly the world’s first space museum. Second billing goes to the rocket scientist’s quaint old wooden family home.
Halal Food: Very hard to find. Asian restaurant Chaikhana and Russian eatery Solyanka (pictured) appear to cater to alternative dietary requirements, and may be worth a call.
Mosque: The town’s main mosque is a converted building off Ulitsa Annenki.
Qibla: South.