A British giant in the global hospitality industry has revealed talks with Saudi authorities to establish a fund aimed at accelerating and developing investment in the kingdom’s hotel sector.
CEO of Soric International Mark Blick told Asharq Al-Awsat that he recently conducted discussions with the Investment Ministry regarding ways to develop new hotels and hotel apartments, while ensuring that the product offering in Saudi Arabia is attractive to international visitors.
He said he came to Saudi Arabia on a private visit to explore the opportunities available in the Kingdom, to assess and attract investment.
The CEO of Soric International revealed that the Saudi investment environment has recently witnessed unprecedented transformation and openness to foreign investment.
He said that when he visited the Kingdom twenty years ago, foreign investment and tourism were not allowed.
Nowadays, the philosophy has completely changed, he told Asharq Al-Awsat, saying the country is open to foreign investment and growth to attract tourists, making it the top destination for global travelers and holiday makers.
As for Saudi attractions, Blick clarified that the Kingdom enjoys numerous natural and exquisite heritage sites that have gained recognition among global travelers.
The crucial aspect is to make use of these sites to enable tourism to benefit from the history of these regions and resorts, he added.
The British hospitality sector is anticipated to expand by 2.5% by 2028, as per Blick’s projections.
The sector had been undergoing a continuous growth phase until 2019, when the coronavirus pandemic hit.
Pre-pandemic, it accounted for 3% of the UK’s total economic output, generated 2.5 million jobs, and constituted 7.1% of the country's total workforce.
According to a report from Colliers, a global research firm, the performance of major hotel markets in Saudi Arabia have bounced back to pre-pandemic levels during the first quarter of 2022.