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."


Out of this world: The disorientating delights of Singapore

Singapore cityscape. (Shutterstock)
Updated 17 October 2018
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Out of this world: The disorientating delights of Singapore

  • Singapore feels like a vision of the future
  • A dreamlike sense of utopia accompanies the city

AMMAN: More than anywhere else I’ve visited, Singapore feels like a vision of the future. Sure, there are cities with taller skyscrapers, faster trains and a more fervent embrace of LED lights, but there’s something about the uniform modernity, efficiency — and, yes, cleanliness — of the southernmost Asian Tiger that seems like a very particular glimpse of an imagined sci-fi world. There is certainly nowhere else on earth you can stroll through a simulated cloud forest, in the world’s largest greenhouse, and be back at the roulette table, or sleeping in a five-star hotel, within minutes.
All this is possible within Singapore’s ultra-modern waterside core, which radiates outwards from the skyline-hugging, S$8 billion, Marina Bay Sands resort — an imposing row of three skyscrapers linked by the 340-meter SkyPark. Such brazen disregard for the rules of nature have led to inevitable comparisons with the Gulf’s vertiginous post-globalized metropolizes (which are not always unfounded — the Sands bears more than a passing resemblance to Abu Dhabi’s The Gate Towers).


In front sits the ultra-modern, and excellent, ArtScience Museum, its curved outcrops shaped to resemble a lotus flower (or an open hand). Behind you’ll find the beguiling Gardens by the Bay, a 100-hectare stretch of exotic vegetation that has no business in a tropical climate, punctuated by giant dancing steel “supertrees” serving a nightly lightshow. The real freakery takes place inside two huge ticketed greenhouses, the technicolor splendor of the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest, which eerily simulates climbing a mountain. If feels, of course, nothing like a real forest — but an imagined reconstruction by post-apocalyptic survivors.
But Singapore’s architectural and horticultural conjuring is only part of the story. A sense of post-national futurism feels stamped in the spiritual DNA of the place. Singapore has four official languages — but non-native English is the most widely understood, with 80 percent fluency. In this imagined future, a global tongue overcomes all tribalism.
Singapore’s fabled orderliness really is a thing. After a few hours in the country, spotting a discarded cigarette butt feels like proof of a minor insurrection. It’s notable that one selling point of the famed Long Bar at Raffles Hotel — established in 1887 and named after the Brit who founded the city — is being allowed, nay encouraged, to throw peanut shells on the floor, in some arcane colonial ritual. Fun has never felt quite so organized.
Leisure takes place where and when its supposed to, such as on Sentosa — a former POW camp brutally used by the Japanese in World War Two, now a resort island that’s home to 14 hotels, two golf courses, Universal Studios Singapore and the city’s second casino. A five-square-kilometer super-real whirl of primary colors, it’s hard to imagine a more artificial environment outside of Disneyland.


This dreamlike sense of utopia accompanies one across the city. Most unnerving is a visit to the much-hyped Chinatown, Little India and Arab Street — traditional neighborhoods which have been brazenly gentrified into sanitized tourist attractions. Strolling through the former, I look up at rows of brightly colored banners waving from every window of an apartment building. What looked like a vibrant display of individuality unraveled when I realized every banner was of a uniform size and placement.
But this could teach the Gulf’s rapidly modernizing cities a valuable trick: Rather than decimating low-income neighborhoods, often home to colorful communities — give them a clever name and market them as cultural destinations. Who wouldn’t want to visit Mini Manila or Little Lagos, after all?