SAUDI ARABIA. The growth of the Kingdom’s travel and tourism sectors has been underlined by new market insights released by professional services and investment management company Colliers ahead of the Future Hospitality Summit (FHS) taking place in Riyadh on 24-25 May.

The Moodie Davitt Report is on location in Riyadh for the event co-organised by The Bench, MEED and Saudi Arabian firm Saudi Event Management & Marketing Company (SEMARK).

Under the theme Reimagined Horizons, FHS Saudi Arabia will bring together Government leaders, hotel investors, owners, developers, and operators to discuss the future of hotel development, destination impact, aviation, sustainability, restaurant investment and human capital.

Saudi Arabia’s hospitality sector is well on its way to recovery post pandemic. Events and campaigns such as Riyadh Season, along with growing consumer confidence in travel, have benefitted both Riyadh and Jeddah as key travel hubs in the Kingdom in the second half of 2021.

This is expected to continue having a positive impact on hotel demand in 2022. The forecasted occupancy for 2022 in Riyadh is 65% with 54% projected for Jeddah, representing respective +12% and +7% increases.

On the hotel supply side, Saudi Arabia saw a +4% increase in the number of branded hotel keys in 2021 to 60,400.

That number is set to rise by +15% this year to 69,300, outperforming both the UAE with a projected +3% increase and Egypt at +8% growth.

In addition to the sector’s strong performance and outlook for 2022, there have been numerous announcements regarding new hospitality projects that will drive further growth in Saudi Arabia.

Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA) has unveiled its vision for Diriyah Square, the commercial heart of its extraordinary SAR190 billion (US$50 billion] Diriyah giga-project on the edge of Riyadh, scheduled to be open by 2024.

To date, 16 international hotel brands have been confirmed at the Diriyah Gate Development and it is expected there will be 38 in total {Photos: Diriyah Gate Development Authority}

The Moodie Davitt Report Founder & Chairman Martin Moodie is in Riyadh to attend the Future Hospitality Summit and to learn more about the extraordinary developments in Saudi Arabia’s aviation, tourism and travel retail sectors. He is pictured above with Riyadh Airports CEO Mohammed A. Almaghlouth (right) and Riyadh Airports Company Commercial Group Acting VP Abdulaziz Al Asaker (left) at Riyadh Airports Company headquarters near King Khalid International Airport yesterday.

Look out soon for Martin Moodie’s extensive interview with Abdulaziz Al Asaker

Martin Moodie with Riyadh Airports Company Senior Commercial Advisor Neil McLeod at the magnificent Najd Village traditional restaurant in Riyadh

The US$15 billion AlUla masterplan (dubbed the World’s Largest Living Museum) will be developed in three phases in 2023, 2030, and 2035.

The plan involves a broad range of initiatives across archaeology, tourism, culture, education and the arts. It reflects the government’s Vision 2030 goals in economic diversification, local community empowerment and heritage preservation. By 2035 the site will have 9,400 hotel rooms, and 2 million visitors a year are expected upon completion.

The AMAALA coastal-based development project will feature 30 hotels and 3,000 hotel rooms. The large-scale mixed-use project is expected to receive around a million visitors a year.

The SAR50 billion (US$13 billion) mega-development project Asser Tourism Masterplan is set to turn the Aseer region on the Red Sea coast into a tourism hub projected to attract over 10 million domestic and international visitors by 2030.

The project, themed ‘The Arabian Highland’, aims to be a sustainable tourism destination offering midscale experiences. The region, known for its agricultural sector, is gradually turning into a modern tourism and hospitality landmark, emphasising its towering mountain peaks and natural resources.

Colliers MENA Executive Director and Head of Hotels Christopher Lund will be moderating a session on the topic of tourism growth at FHS Saudi Arabia titled: ‘How Tourism Development Fund (TDF) is driving the tourism sector in KSA from partnerships to new concepts to finance’.

He will appear with panellists Marko Vucinic, Director at Hospitality and Real Estate Development at TDF; Siegfried Nierhaus, Vice President Middle East at Deutsche Hospitality; and Elie Milky, Vice President Development at Radisson Hotel Group.

The Future Hospitality Summit will provide rich content for a forthcoming Moodie Davitt publication, The Saudi Travel Ecosytem Report. Click to enlarge.

Lund commented: “We are seeing that developers in Saudi are putting a great deal of importance on finding the right partner and operator for their hotel projects, aiming to have the newest and strongest concepts and best performing properties in the market.”

The Bench Chairman Jonathan Worsley said: “We are thrilled to be back in the Kingdom later this month following the success of the inaugural Future Hospitality Summit in October 2020 with Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Tourism and G20 Secretariat and three years of organising the Saudi Hospitality Investment Conference (SHIC).

“The interest we’re witnessing for this year’s event is exceptional, which is testimony to the great vision and ambition for tourism in the Kingdom.

“Saudi Vision 2030 is setting the stage for an incredibly promising future of the sector, and with the multitude of investment opportunities arising in Saudi Arabia, we look to provide a unique and vital opportunity for the hospitality investment community to come together and gain crucial insights from key dignitaries and industry leaders involved in the Kingdom’s hospitality market.”

For more information and to view the full programme of FHS Saudi Arabia, please visit

The Saudi Travel Ecosystem Report, to be published in June/July in Arabic and English by The Moodie Davitt Report, will take a deep dive into one of the world’s most exciting, investment-heavy and resurgent travel-related markets. For details please contact Martin Moodie at

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