RIYADH: Hilton Hotels & Resorts will add 59 more hotels across various asset classes in Saudi Arabia in the next five to 10 years. The hospitality group currently has 16 in the region.
In an interview with Arab News on the sidelines of the Future Hospitality Summit, Hilton’s managing director for the Middle East and North Africa, Amir Lababedi, said that Hilton will reach 75 hotels within the next five to 10 years and probably exceed that number as well.
“We will surpass 75 hotels in the next five to 10 years because of all the Kingdom’s efforts. These hotels will be spread across a range of asset classes and brands, serving a broad range of demographics,” said Lababedi.
He further added that the Kingdom has enormous potential for growth in the hospitality sector thanks to the wholehearted support offered by the government, including the Tourism Development Fund and the Public Investment Fund.
“The Hilton in Jeddah, Makkah and Medina are properties that are part of the fabric of the tourism industry, right from the start of domestic and international tourism,” Lababedi said.
As a result of Vision 2030, the market has changed in the last few years with regard to tourism and economic development, and Lababedi said that the company would fully support the goals and initiatives of the Ministry of Tourism.
He added that the hospitality chain works closely with the Saudi Tourism Authority to bring its performance engine to support the industry’s growth.
Hilton’s goal is to infuse a sense of local culture into all of its brands.
“We are looking to infuse the Diriyah property with the essence of its history, bringing the story of this unique location to life,” Lababedi added. “And we call these properties the heroes, and it’s part of a shared principle of brand sharing,” he said.
When it comes to hiring Saudis, he said the company needs to hire locals not just because of regulations and Saudization quotas but also because guests appreciate the gesture when a company can bring a local culture into their hotels.
“We work very closely with the authorities in training and developing Saudis to find a career in hospitality, get them ready for a work-life, and provide them with the basic life skills to go out into the workforce and prepare them for that,” said Lababedi.