RIYADH: Rotana Hotels plans to build seven new hotels in Saudi Arabia, which will almost triple the number of rooms it runs to in the Kingdom to 6,000 over the next four years, says its president and CEO.
In an exclusive interview with Arab News on the sidelines of the Future Hospitality Summit in Riyadh, Rotana Hotel Management Corporation President and CEO Guy Hutchinson said its move was prompted by Saudi’s growing tourism market.
He said: “Without doubt, this is one of the most exciting and dynamic regions at the moment anywhere in the world in terms of hospitality development.”
The Abu Dhabi-based business currently operates seven hotels in the Kingdom — in Alkhobar, Jeddah, Makkah and Riyadh — hosting 2,100 rooms.
The move by the business is in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 program, which bids to diversify the country’s economy, making it less reliant on oil, while boosting such areas as IT, business startups and tourism.
Vision 2030’s goal of attracting 100 million visitors to the Kingdom by the end of the decade is a key driver of the growth in the country’s hospitality sector, according to Hutchinson.
He added that the opening up of the country’s heritage cities and towns — such as AlUla and Jeddah — will attract more tourists over the coming years.
Hutchinson noted that visitor numbers to the region are beginning to normalize after almost grinding to a halt following the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said: “You’re seeing this pent up demand from people wanting to reclaim their lifestyles and to reclaim travel at a really unprecedented speed.”
Local produce to drive sustainability
The hotel chain also backs the Kingdom’s sustainability program to cut CO2 emissions and energy waste.
It plans to source local agricultural and farm products that will be served in its hotels.
Hutchinson said: “Sustainability is an enormous part of what we do as it is embedded in our culture. That’s an important part of being part of sustainable communities.”