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Radisson plans to quadruple Saudi hotels with the Kingdom’s growth second to China

RIYADH: The Radisson Hotel Group is very optimistic about the growth of the Saudi tourism market.

The group is now considering quadrupling the number of hotels it operates in in the Kingdom as it plans to move its regional headquarters to Riyadh this year.

Today the Group operates 24 hotels, resorts and residences in Saudi Arabia and has another 20 in development, but the growth it sees in the Saudi tourism market makes it determined to go from 24 to more than 80 in the next five years.

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.

“Yesterday I was discussing with the teams that we should actually increase these goals to 100, as the rate of transformation you see in this country is unlike any other country in the world,” he added.

Asked about Radisson’s business growth in Saudi Arabia relative to other international markets, González said it’s the second fastest growing market after China, where the hospitality brand is adding a significant number of hotels.

Federico J. González, CEO of the Radisson Hotel Group

“I don’t think if you went around the world, you would see any other country where the level of transformation of tourism is as big as what 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 around 50% of its presence in the Middle East region.

The Kingdom plans to develop an additional 854,000 hotel rooms, of which 70% are funded by the private sector. After opening to international tourism in 2019, Saudi Arabia has issued over 400,000 e-visas, making it the fastest growing tourist destination in the world before the pandemic.

Highlight

Radisson expansion plan for Saudi Arabia:

  • Doubling 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 recent opening of the Radisson Hotel Riyadh Airport, with upcoming openings including the Radisson Blu Hotel, the 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 to Thakher City

  • Introducing the 5th Radisson hotel in Riyadh with the opening of the Radisson Blu Hotel, Riyadh Qurtuba

As part of the Saudi Vision 2030 and National Tourism Strategy, the Kingdom plans to increase tourism’s contribution to GDP to 10%, creating one million new jobs and ensuring Saudi Arabia becomes a top five tourist destination global.

González met with Tourism Minister Ahmed Al-Khateeb on January 10 to discuss the group’s expansion plans in line with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.

Among the topics discussed at the meeting was the opening of a regional headquarters of the Radisson Hotel Group in Riyadh this year in response to the growing portfolio of the group in the Kingdom.

They also talked about creating 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 – all meetings held in its hotels are expected to emit lower carbon emissions.

“Radisson as a group was the first company in the world to offer zero carbon meetings, and now we are turning them into carbon negative meetings,” added González.

González said Radisson is very supportive of sustainability, but still sees a need to better define that term.

We are working with various 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 emissions by 2050, but I think the place we need to move now is to make sure we do things now,” he said.

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