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."

Vienna topples Melbourne in ‘most liveable city’ ranking

Updated 14 August 2018

Vienna topples Melbourne in ‘most liveable city’ ranking

  • Each year 140 cities are given scores out of 100 on a range of factors such as living standards, crime and transport infrastructure
  • Vienna scored a ‘near-ideal’ 99.1, beating Melbourne into second place on 98.4

LONDON: Austria’s capital Vienna has beaten Melbourne to be ranked the “world’s most liveable city” in a new annual survey released Monday, ending the southern Australian city’s seven-year reign.

It is the first time a European metropolis has topped the annual chart compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit which identifies the best urban playgrounds to live and work in.

Each year 140 cities are given scores out of 100 on a range of factors such as living standards, crime, transport infrastructure, access to education and health care, as well as political and economic stability.

Vienna scored a “near-ideal” 99.1, beating Melbourne into second place on 98.4. Japan’s Osaka took third place.

Australia and Canada dominated the top ten, each boasting three cities. Australia had Melbourne, Sydney (fifth) and Adelaide (10th) while Canada had Calgary (fourth), Vancouver (sixth) and Toronto (joint seventh).

“Those that score best tend to be mid-sized cities in wealthier countries,” researchers said in their report.

They noted that several cities in the top 10 had relatively low population densities which fostered “a range of recreational activities without leading to high crime levels or overburdened infrastructure.”

Australia and Canada, researchers said, have an overall average population density of 3.2 and four people per square kilometer respectively, compared to a global average of 58.

Japan, which alongside Osaka boasted Tokyo in the top ten (joint seventh), is the glaring exception to that rule with a nationwide average of 347 people per square kilometer but its cities are still famed for their transport networks and living standards.

Copenhagen was the only other European city in the top ten at ninth place.

Researchers said wealthy financial capitals such as Paris (19th), London (48th) and New York (57th) tended to be “victims of their own success” with higher crime rates and overstretched infrastructure dampening their appeal.

At the other end of the spectrum the five worst cities to live in were Damascus at the bottom of the table followed by Dhaka, Lagos, Karachi and Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea.

The survey also looked at cities where long-term improvements had been made. Abidjan, Hanoi, Belgrade and Tehran saw the largest improvements in liveability over the last five years — more than five percentage points.

Ukraine’s Kiev, the capital of a European country wracked by political violence, civil war and the loss of Crimea to Russia, saw the largest drop in its liveability over the last five years (-12.6 percent).

Puerto Rico’s San Juan — which was devastated by a hurricane last year — as well as Damascus and Caracas also saw steep drops over the same period.