Saudi Arabia key to world’s fastest-growing hotel chain

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The gate of OYO Eling Villa Hotel at Maidi Road, Huicheng District, China. (Shutterstock photo)
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Rooms, commonly known as OYO, is a network of budget hotels in India. Headquartered in Gurgaon, it currently operates in more than 200 Indian towns, Malaysia and Nepal. (Shutterstock photo)
Updated 03 November 2019

Saudi Arabia key to world’s fastest-growing hotel chain

  • Oyo Rooms CEO Ritesh Agarwal believes KSA is on the cusp of a boom as local tourism surges following reforms

The founder of Oyo Rooms, the world’s fastest-growing hotel chain, has said that Saudi Arabia is crucial to his $10 billion company’s global growth strategy.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Future Investment Initiative (FII) in Riyadh, Ritesh Agarwal, the firm’s 25-year-old CEO, told Arab News that the Kingdom offered “very exciting, magical opportunities.”

Saudi Arabia is a relatively recent market for the company, but will become increasingly important, he said.

“We came to the Kingdom only about 10 months ago, but it is a very special market for us. At the moment, we have 9,000 rooms in 14 cities. We have gone to 600,000 customers in the first 10 months, and are aiming to get to 2 million next year,” he said.


Read More: INTERVIEW: World’s fastest-growing hotel chain comes to Saudi Arabia


 

Agarwal believes Saudi Arabia is on the cusp of a hotel boom as domestic tourism surges following Vision 2030 reforms.

The planned increase in religious tourism — at least 30 million pilgrims are forecast to travel to Makkah and Madinah by 2030 — is another growth factor, and Oyo has plans to expand into the two holy cities.

Describing the new online visitor visa as a game-changer, Agarwal said the third growth area will be a rise in international tourism to attractions such as the Red Sea development, NEOM and Al-Qiddiya. 

Agarwal’s story is one to inspire any youthful would-be entrepreneur. The boy who began selling SIM cards on the streets of Titlagarh in India now heads a hotel chain that manages more than 1 million rooms in 80 countries.

 

 


Oman, UAE praise Saudi Arabia for reaching a deal between Yemeni parties

Updated 23 min 16 sec ago

Oman, UAE praise Saudi Arabia for reaching a deal between Yemeni parties

  • Gulf countries praise Saudi Arabia’s role in brokering the Riyadh Agreement.
  • The deal ends a feud between the government and the STC and refocuses efforts on fighting the Houthi militia

RIYADH: Oman welcomed on Tuesday Saudi Arabia’s efforts in bringing together the Yemeni government and southern separatists to sign a power sharing agreement. 
The two parties signed the Saudi-brokered deal in Riyadh last week to end a power struggle in the country’s south. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman hailed the agreement as a step toward a wider political solution to the Yemen conflict.
Oman’s foreign ministry said it “hopes the agreement will pave the way for a comprehensive settlement in Yemen.”
Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Defense Minister, Prince Khalid bin Salman, visited Oman on Monday and met Sultan Qaboos bin Said.
The UAE Cabinet also welcomed on Tuesday the signing of the agreement and expressed confidence that it will establish a “new era of unified and effective work to meet the aspirations of the Yemeni people.”
“The Cabinet affirmed the UAE’s support for all efforts exerted by Saudi Arabia, through its leadership of the Arab Coalition, in order to stabilize Yemen and allow it to regain it role in the region,” the state WAM news agency reported.
The new arrangement calls for an equal number of ministries between the Southern Transitional Council (STC) and the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
The Kuwaiti Cabinet also welcomed the Riyadh Agreement on Monday and thanked Saudi Arabia for its efforts.
Yemen’s government was forced to flee the capital Sanaa when Houthi militants and their allies seized the city in 2014. 
The government and the STC are part of a military coalition against the Iran-backed Houthis, which also includes Saudi Arabia and the UAE.