D. Al Talib: SCTH efforts contribute to global hotel companies entering the Saudi market with 75 new hotels
aTP- Arab tourism portal- Vice-President of SCTH and Superintendent General of “Comprehensive Development Program”, Dr. Salah Al Bakheet Al Talib, has disclosed several global hotel companies are entering the Saudi market, to operate 75 hotels over the next four years, with the support and backing of SCTH, as a result of Commission’s organization and development effort to create sustainable business environment for the hotel industry in the Kingdom.
Dr. Al Talib made his comment in a press statement, following the signing of an investment agreement with Choice Hotels International, Inc., one of the largest hotel companies in the world, at the Saudi pavilion on the sidelines of the Arabian Travel Market 2016, recently in Dubai.
Dr. Al Talib further disclosed that, the negotiations are underway with other international hotel companies to enter the Saudi market as operators after they expressed their satisfaction at the new regulations of the hotel classification in the Kingdom.
Dr. Al Talib further added that, with the start of this year the domestic market will be saturated with five-star hotels in some of the major cities, and Saudi market now is in dire need of four and three-star hotels, especially that tourism market of these hotels is in a steady expansion and has a large customers base.
Entry of international operators who have advanced experiences in this hotel degrees to Saudi market will promote market efficiency and provide diversity and more choices meeting the requirements of diverse categories of tourists, added Dr. Al Talib.
“Signing agreements with a number of hotel operating companies for various hotel services, such as Choice Hotels International, Inc., will offer about 40 to 50 hotels across the Kingdom and significantly support the hospitality market and increase competiveness regionally and internationally,” he said.
Dr. Al Talib in his statement referred to the exerted efforts of SCTH for stimulation of hotel investment and attracting international companies through a radical development of licensing regulation as well as steep justice in respect of classification by shifting into stars system after it took over responsibility of hotel sector, besides its efforts for facilitating licensing procedures according to an unified application form with different public departments.
Preparation of a proper environment for hotel investment is a crucial factor for attracting more investments and investors to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, therefore SCTH since its inception in 2000, has executed a number of strategic projects and initiatives to stimulate the proper environment for tourism and hotel investments in light of its efforts to achieve promising and attracting environment for investment which would contribute to attracting a number of hotel investments that would add-value to the national economy.
SCTH efforts in this respect included in developing licensing conditions, developing a new classification system for hotels and furnished apartments, setting up and applying a new policy for pricing fitting the classification degrees, and re-evaluating all existing tourism accommodation facilities, numbering about 4000.
The efforts of SCTH also covered certain specific accommodation facilities such as heritage villages, desert camps, and rural inns.
“In its efforts to support the funding of hotel facilities, SCTH has launched recently the “hotel project funding program” which was developed by SCTH in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and was approved upon the resolution of the Council of Ministers number (172) dated 02/02/2015.
SCTH has also executed the “comprehensive rehabilitation program” which is devoted for owners and operators of furnished apartments, making it as a major condition for obtaining operation license. The program aims at training and making facilities’ owners and operators to be qualified to run and operate their facilities to ensure their sustainability as well as informing them on the opportunities and conditions related to their activity.
In conclusion, Dr. Al Talib noted that he hoped that Saudi hospitality industry occupies a very high rank among the priorities of the State, to achieve economic and social development goals.