First movie theater in Dammam at LuLu Mall

The official announcement event was launched by Ashish Shukla, chief executive of Cinépolis Gulf, in the presence of Shehim Mohammed, director of LuLu Saudi Arabia, at LuLu Mall in Dammam.
Updated 02 December 2019

First movie theater in Dammam at LuLu Mall

LuLu Mall, in partnership with Al-Hokair Group’s Cinépolis Cinemas, unveiled the first movie theater in Central Dammam, featuring a world-class cinema facility with seven screens and a 640-seating capacity. The official announcement event was launched by Ashish Shukla, chief executive of Cinépolis Gulf, in the presence of Shehim Mohammed, director of LuLu Saudi Arabia, at LuLu Mall in Dammam.

“We are proud to bring a world-class cinema-going experience through the high-quality movie theater facility of Cinépolis, which will serve as another entertainment venue for our shoppers. We are grateful to Al-Hokair Group for working hand in hand with us and providing a conducive space for families to enjoy and appreciate the art behind movies,” said Mohammed. 

Cinépolis Gulf CEO Shukla said: “We are glad to partner with LuLu Mall in offering the best movie experience to customers in different formats, from child-friendly auditoriums to larger-than-life screens, immersive 4D cinemas and premium theaters. We are looking forward to welcoming LuLu Mall’s customer base and letting them discover different movie genres for all ages.” 

The newly announced cinema facility is part of a long-term project of Al-Hokair Group, in collaboration with Dubai-based Al-Tayer Group and Mexico-based Cinépolis, to launch movie theaters in 15 major cities across Saudi Arabia.

Cinépolis is the largest cinema exhibitor in Latin America and fourth largest exhibition circuit in the world. It opened its first cinema in Bahrain in January this year. Since then it has seen an ever-increasing following from the local community in Bahrain and Saudis alike. The opening of the brand’s cinemas in the Kingdom is expected to help boost the economy through the recreational spend. A recent study by PwC revealed that the Kingdom’s cinema market could potentially generate 60 to 70 million admissions and the box office market could be $950 million in 2030.

Managed by LuLu Properties, the shopping mall and property development team of LuLu Group, LuLu Mall is a one-stop lifestyle destination for shopping, dining and leisure, featuring a range of global brands, and a 550,000-square-foot hypermarket. 

LuLu Group is a highly diversified conglomerate founded by Chairman and Managing Director Yusuff Ali M.A. The group has become a key contributor in the Gulf region’s economic standing with an annual turnover of $7.4 billion. Headquartered in Abu Dhabi, LuLu Group mainly operates in 22 countries located across the Middle East, Asia, US, and Europe.

New IHG office, leadership to drive growth in Saudi Arabia

Updated 26 January 2020

New IHG office, leadership to drive growth in Saudi Arabia

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), a global hotel company, has announced plans to open an office in Riyadh in March. The news comes as IHG continues to expand its portfolio in the Kingdom in response to Vision 2030 and the opportunities it presents to the tourism and hospitality sector. The new office will also drive the performance of IHG’s existing estate further in the country and simultaneously support the expanding portfolio, as well as the company’s ambition toward leading Saudization efforts in the industry, a statement said. 

To lead IHG’s business in Saudi Arabia, Bastien Blanc has been appointed as managing director, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, effective March 1. In his current role with IHG, Blanc is responsible for leading the operations across IHG’s portfolio of hotels in the Middle East and Africa, including Saudi Arabia. He will also be responsible for driving both growth and performance for IHG in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. With extensive experience of working in the Kingdom, Blanc has been deeply ingrained into the market. He has also been leading IHG’s Saudization efforts, which he will continue to drive further in his new role. Blanc will continue to report to Pascal Gauvin, managing director, IMEA, IHG. 

IHG has also appointed Saad Al-Ahmari as director of HR and government affairs, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Al-Ahmari joins IHG from Boeing, Saudi Arabia where he served as the head of human resources. As a senior HR practitioner and Saudi national, he is well versed with the transformation taking place in the Kingdom and has expertise in HR strategy, Saudization, change management, employee engagement, government relations, employment law, and talent management. 


The Riyadh office will be further supported by new roles, across functions including commercial, financial and procurement, learning and development and IT. 

Managing director Gauvin said: “Saudi Arabia is a key market for IHG in the Middle East. With Saudi Vision 2030 and the rapid socioeconomic transformation in the country, we believe the tourism and hospitality industry will continue to be presented with unparalleled opportunities. We are therefore, pleased to solidify our presence in the country with the opening of a new office in the capital city, and appoint a talented team led by Bastien, to drive our growth and performance in the market. We also have strong commitment and an ambition toward leading Saudization in the industry and the new structure will help us engage with and facilitate the development of Saudi talent.”

He added: “This is an important next step in our growth in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and is a truly significant move to solidify IHG’s position as one of the leading hospitality companies in the country.”