RIYADH: The Radisson Hotel Group is very optimistic about the growth of the Saudi tourism market.
The group now plans to quadruple the number of hotels it operates in the Kingdom, as it plans to move its regional headquarters to Riyadh this year.
Today, the group operates 24 hotels, resorts and serviced apartments in Saudi Arabia and has 20 more under development, but the growth it is seeing in the Saudi tourism market makes it determined to grow from 24 to over 80 in the next five years.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Arab News in Riyadh, Radisson CEO Federico J. González said they need to review their plans and consider increasing that number to 100.
“I was discussing with the teams yesterday that we should actually increase those targets to 100 because the speed of transformation you see in this country is unlike any other country in the world,” he added.
Asked about the growth of Radisson’s business in Saudi Arabia compared to other international markets, González said it was the second fastest growing market after China, where the hotel brand is adding significant numbers. of hotels.
“I don’t think if you go around the world you would see another country where the level of tourism transformation is as great as the one you are doing,” he said.
Radisson plans to support Saudi Arabia’s goal of 100 million visitors by 2030 with its new hotels. The Group’s portfolio in Saudi Arabia now represents approximately 50% of its presence in the Middle East region.
The Kingdom plans to develop 854,000 additional hotel rooms, 70% of which will be financed by the private sector. After opening up to international tourism in 2019, Saudi Arabia issued over 400,000 eVisas, becoming the fastest growing tourist destination in the world before the pandemic.
Radisson expansion plan for Saudi Arabia:
Doubling of the group’s presence in Jeddah with the addition of more than 600 rooms, most of which will open in 2022 with the launch of the Radisson Individuals brand in the region
The recently opened Radisson Hotel Riyadh Airport, with upcoming openings including Radisson Blu Hotel, Riyadh International Convention & Exhibition Center and the second
Radisson Collection Hotel in Riyadh with Mansard Riyadh, a Radisson Collection Hotel
Double the group’s presence in Mecca by adding nearly 1,000 rooms and serviced apartments in Thakher City
Introducing the 5th Radisson hotel in Riyadh with the opening of the Radisson Blu Hotel, Riyadh Qurtuba
As part of Saudi Vision 2030 and the National Tourism Strategy, the Kingdom plans to increase tourism’s contribution to GDP to 10%, create one million new jobs and ensure that Saudi Arabia is among the top five tourist destinations in the world.
González met with Tourism Minister Ahmed Al-Khateeb on January 10 to discuss the group’s expansion plans aligned with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.
Among the topics discussed at the meeting is the opening of a Radisson Hotel Group regional headquarters in Riyadh this year in response to the group’s growing portfolio in the Kingdom.
They also talked about generating many new job opportunities and developing exchange programs for Saudi talent in the hospitality sector.
One of the topics Radisson has discussed with Saudi tourism officials is its concept of carbon-negative meetings – whereby all meetings held at its hotels should emit less carbon.
“Radisson as a group was the first company in the world to offer zero-carbon meetings, and now we’re turning that into carbon-negative meetings,” González added.
González said Radisson is very supportive of sustainability, but he still sees the need to better define the term.
We work with different institutions, including the World Travel and Tourism Council, to try to help define what we call the foundations of sustainability.
“We have our commitments to reduce carbon by 2050, but I think we need to act now to make sure we do things now,” he said.