Group to highlight its pivotal role in driving kingdom’s hotel landscape transformation at upcoming saudi arabian hospitality investment conference (SHIC) 2020.
Accor, a world-leading augmented hospitality group, will highlight its role as a pioneer of new lifestyle experiences in Saudi Arabia at the second Saudi Arabian Hospitality Investment Conference (SHIC), which takes place this week (January 21-22) in Riyadh.
The Group, which is already the leading operator in the kingdom with 36 properties (close to 14,000 rooms) and 45 more in the pipeline, will outline its plans to introduce new hospitality concepts and dynamic brands that will set new trends in Saudi Arabia.
From exclusive tented camps, conservation-led projects, all-inclusive resorts and extended-stay and branded residences to cutting-edge dining, wellness, adventure and entertainment experiences that are new to Saudi Arabia, Accor will emphasise how its investment in the country’s future goes beyond hotel development and supports Vision 2030’s goals of transforming the kingdom into an exceptional destination.
“SHIC’s theme, ‘Transform Tomorrow’, could not be more apt for Accor as we look to leverage our unrivalled portfolio of diverse brands and spearhead new lifestyle experiences that showcase and preserve the very best of Saudi Arabia,” said Mark Willis, CEO, Accor Middle East & Africa.
“As a key stakeholder in Vision 2030 and the kingdom’s leading operator, we are committed to setting new benchmarks in the hospitality sector, opening the eyes of the world to all that Saudi Arabia has to offer, from its stunning landscapes and heritage sites to its modern cities and world-class attractions and destinations.”
Accor is one of the most established hospitality developers and partners in Saudi Arabia where it has operated properties for more than 30 years and has built on this expertise and experience with ground-breaking projects.
For two consecutive years, the Group has been selected by the Royal Commission for Al Ula (RCU) as the exclusive hospitality partner for the Winter at Tantora festival in AlUla, operating the Ashar Camp, featuring 27 tented rooms, 5 villas and 54 RV (Recreational Vehicle) camps at the multi-faceted cultural event, which this year runs until March 7.
Accor is also the first international operator to takeover and manage Shaden Resort Al Ula under MGallery at the kingdom’s famous UNESCO World Heritage Site. As a brand defined by its unique guest experiences with local essence and an authentic story, MGallery is the perfect fit for the heritage destination and the tent-like resort will offer a range of Eco-tourism, adventure, wellness and cultural activities.
Similar projects are in negotiation for properties to be managed under Mantis, the luxury Eco-focused brand in which Accor has a 50% stake. As a leading conservation-led hospitality company renowned for its tented accommodation concepts and commitment to preserving the communities, wildlife and the environment, Mantis has strong potential in the kingdom.
Discussions are also under way to debut exclusive and all-inclusive luxury entertainment resorts in Saudi Arabia under Turkish brand Rixos, another hospitality company in which Accor has invested. The concept has already proven an overwhelming success in the UAE and with Rixos known for its events, shows and concerts, Accor is highlighting the range of new experiences the brand can offer discerning visitors to the country.
As the leading operator of branded and extended-stay residences in the Middle East, Accor is carving a niche with these sought-after products in Saudi Arabia, with Fairmont Ramla Serviced Residences set to open in Riyadh this year as the Group’s first luxury long-stay apartment property in the kingdom.
Meanwhile, Dhahran in the Eastern Province is the chosen destination for the global debut of Accor’s new Novotel Living brand, with the upscale serviced apartment property co-located with a Novotel hotel in the landmark KFUPM Business Park project.
Accor has also signed an agreement to manage Novotel Residences Thakher City in Makkah, building on its presence as the largest operator in the Holy Cities with 11 hotels (9,661 rooms) and eight more (4,534 rooms) pipelined, dominated by its premium and luxury brands.
In 2019, Accor’s properties in Makkah and Madinah welcomed almost four million guests, with market research commissioned by the Group revealing an increase in the number of affluent Muslims in the UK, France, Canada and the US visiting the cities. The first-of-its-kind Holy Cities Insight Report also found the UK Muslim market had particularly strong awareness of Accor’s brands in both holy destinations.
To support its activities in the Holy Cities and to enhance the visitor experience, the Group recently unveiled dedicated pilgrim resources, including a new website providing an end-to-end booking journey in English and Arabic, as well as relevant content, tailored packages and itineraries and essential information.
Mark Willis will be discussing these and other developments at SHIC, joining his industry peers at two sessions: ‘Leaders’ Perspective – transform tomorrow and building from the group up’ and the Student Session entitled ‘Innovation and Sustainable tourism in Eco Lodging and How Accor and Mantis are working together to transform the sector’ where he will be joined by Mantis Collection CEO and globally renowned conservationist, Paul Gardiner.