Hotel deal to provide jobs for hundreds of nationals

Updated 17 December 2014
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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."


Saudi Arabia’s “City of Springs” moves step closer to UNESCO recognition

The village is home to dwellings made of polished stone, some four stories high, and a famous mosque. (SPA)
Updated 22 January 2019
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Saudi Arabia’s “City of Springs” moves step closer to UNESCO recognition

  • Village of Zee Ain included on a tentative list within the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

JEDDAH: While preserving and restoring national heritage sites is no easy task for any country, ensuring these treasures stand out on the world stage is a whole different ballgame. 
Thankfully, the efforts made by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) have paid off for one village in the Kingdom’s famous Al-Baha region.
The village of Zee Ain, Arabic for “city of springs,” was included on a tentative list within the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization after King Salman approved its nomination in 2015.
The SCTH has since put forth a multimillion dollar comprehensive restoration plan for the village to make it tourist friendly and shed light on its famous, locally made products.
What makes the village of Zee Ain stand out is its strategic location atop a mountain offering impressive panoramic views of the region’s farms.
The village is home to dwellings made of polished stone, some four stories high, and a famous mosque. The area, which is said to be more than 400 years old, was given its name from the permanent water source that flows into the area from nearby valleys.
The SCTH development plan, which has been underway for several years, consists of two stages. The first is restoring several structures to create an open-air museum overlooking the waterfalls, as well as revamping an existing museum.
The second is constructing a village garden and a visitors’ center, which will eventually include an exhibition of locally made products.

Hidden gem
The peak on which the village is built, which is also set against an impressive backdrop of mountain ranges, is renowned for fruit and spices, including banana, lemon, pepper and basil.
Tourists can also get a glimpse of the historic forts built around the village. Legend has it that the springs were dug inadvertently in search of a cane belonging to well-known local.
The development plan also includes carrying out research studies aimed at shedding light on the city’s unique architecture and the raw material with which doors and windows are made.
Zee Ain was home to many tribal battles before the establishment of the Kingdom. The area is also renowned for a battle in which two famous tribes defeated the Ottomans. As such, it is known among locals as the “site of Turks’ graves.”
Locals in Zee Ain have jumped on board the quest to get their hidden gem on the map. More recently, locals have introduced banana festivals in an attempt to attract farmers and tourists.
Its existence in a region already brimming with natural wonders, including Raghdan Forest, as well as traditional markets selling distinct handicraft, has no doubt boded well for the city of springs, which may one day rival the likes of France’s Mont Saint Michel and Italy’s Amalfi Coast thanks to the distinct vantage point it offers and the geophysical beauty with which it is surrounded.