Al Hokair ties deal to bring Holiday Inn Express to Saudi

Time:  April 19, 2018

Al Hokair will build 10 Holiday Inn Express hotels over the next 15 years.

Al Hokair will build 10 Holiday Inn Express hotels over the next 15 years.


Al Hokair Group has signed an exclusive master development agreement with Intercontinental Hotel Group to build the first Holiday Inn Express properties in Saudi Arabia.

Al Hokair will bring Holiday Inn Express, the fastest growing brand in International Hotel Group’s (IHG) 13-strong portfolio, to Saudi Arabia for the first time ever.

At least 10 hotels will be built over the next 15 years.

The first Holiday Inn Express to be built in Saudi Arabia will be a 200-room hotel in Jeddah, followed by openings in cities such as Riyadh.

All 10 of the yet-to-be-built hotels will be operated under long-term franchise agreements, according to the exclusive master development deal.

Revenue gains will start to appear in the first quarter of 2020, Al Hokair said.

Operator Al Hokair already manages six Holiday Inn hotels in Saudi Arabia, but does not manage any for sister brand Holiday Inn Express.

Managing director, Al Hokair Group, Sami Alhokair, said the company was “delighted” to broaden its commercial partnership with IHG. He said the agreement would “strengthen” the Saudi operator’s presence in the Kingdom and keep its commitments to the Vison 2030 industrial strategy on track.

“Holiday Inn Express is world renowned brand, offering great value to the guests and, in the absence of an adequate supply of mid-market hotels to cater to the increasing demand, this signing presents us with unprecedented opportunities to capture the volume segment.”

IHG’s managing director for India, Middle East and Africa, Pascal Gauvin, said: “IHG has a strong legacy in Saudi Arabia, which is a key market for us in the Middle East. We are proud to once again collaborate with our esteemed long-term partner Al Hokair Group to bring the Holiday Inn Express brand to the country, and further expand our offering to domestic and international travellers alike.

“The tourism landscape in Saudi Arabia is rapidly changing and we are excited to leverage the huge growth opportunities that Saudi Vision 2030 presents, particularly given that one of the biggest pillars of the plan is to bring more tourism into the country.”

He added: “We are the largest operator in Saudi Arabia, with a strong portfolio of 31 hotels across four brands, offering specialised stay experiences, and with this signing we are further extending our consumer appeal by offering quality, yet affordable accommodation for savvy travellers.”

 This article was first published Construction Week Online.COM

Saudi Arabia Is Gradually Emerging As A Dental Tourism Hub

Time: April 17, 2018

Saudi Arabia has been emerging as a preferred destination for dental tourism in the world largely due to affordability of dental services when compared to other western countries. This has also helped in ameliorating the overall market size of dental market in the recent years.

The Kingdom has been ranked third among all the GCC countries in terms of dentist per 10,000 residents in 2016. Dentists in Saudi Arabia are majorly concentrated in places namely Riyadh, Jeddah and Al Khobar and the remaining cities mainly possess various unorganized dental clinics which may become organized with the passing years.

Also, the number of dentists in the market has had a direct correlation with the overall market size and the country has witnessed a rise in number of graduates in the field of dentistry and more dentists have been passing out over the years. Increasing number of dentists has resulted in expansion of the market size during 2011-2016. It has increased from 8,100 dentists during 2011 to 16,887 dentists during 2016 at a CAGR of 15.8% during these years.

The market has noticed a considerable growth majorly due to all the interrelated factors that include: increasing diabetic population, rising oral care awareness, improved technologies & modern healthcare infrastructure, growing demand for cosmetic dental services and targeted promotion of dental tourism. It has also been observed that government expenditure on healthcare has increased at a CAGR of 7.6% during 2011-2016.

An increased attention towards the physical appearance has geared the demand for oral grooming treatments including tooth whitening, cleaning, reshaping, broken tooth, tooth jewellery and cosmetic contouring. These changing preferences of the customers have further helped push the revenues from dental services and they have only been improving. The rising income levels of Saudi residents along with growing dental tourism in the country has led to an increased demand for cosmetic dentistry in the country.

Currently, Qatar has the highest dentist to population ratio among all GCC countries and the major institutions that cater to dentistry segment include Qatar University, Weil Cornell Medicine, College of North Atlantic – Qatar, Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, Georgetown University in Qatar, Doha Dental and others.

In line with the evolving health and hygiene awareness in Saudi Arabia, oral hygiene is witnessing a growing focus amongst its consumers. According to Ken Research, the overall market has shown expansion at a CAGR of 9.1% during 2014-2016, recording revenues of $2.3 billion in 2016.

The government has been active throughout and has taken a number of reforms to ameliorate the dental health care system in the country. As a consequence, dental care services have improved significantly in the recent decades. The research report “Saudi Arabia Dental Care Market by Services (Endodontic, Prosthodontics, Implantlogy, Orthodontics, Cosmetic Dentistry, Periodontics), by Major Cities (Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam & Al-Khobar, Others) – Outlook to 2021” highlights that the healthcare expenditure in Saudi Arabia will rise from $25 billion in 2017 to $33.7 billion during 2021 at a CAGR of 7.7% during 2017-2021. This increase would ultimately result in the improvement of overall healthcare infrastructure, which will in turn boost the dental care services market in the country.

Saudi Arabia dental care services market is forecasted to grow at an exponential growth rate in the upcoming years. The sector is anticipated to represent a strong growth in the coming years that will owe to the overall increase in dental care spending, growing penetration by the insurance and increase in the per capital income.

This article was first published in Forbes

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Hiking places near Riyadh

SOURCE: Arab News
Time: April 17, 2018

RIYADH: The first Saudi Recruitment, Labor and Support Services Forum and Exhibition (RALS 2018) has been hailed as a success by firms who attended and called for it to be made an annual event.
RALS 2018 brought together recruitment companies to explore opportunities in the Kingdom at a three-day forum.
The event was opened on Sunday by Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center. Companies who took part said that events of this type should be organized on a regular basis as they helped to streamline the sector.
Speaking to Arab News at the forum Abdulwahab Waleed Aldayel, marketing director at the Al Ajeer Recruitment Co., said on Tuesday: “We see this forum as an opportunity to deliver the message that recruitment is a good sector to invest in.”
“We would like to change the image of the recruitment here in Saudi Arabia because it is understood in a very limited sense. The common perception is that the recruitment drive is to have a nanny or a private driver; this perception has to change. We wish to go for technology-driven recruitment in line with Vision 2030, that aims to diversify all aspects of development in the Kingdom to make life easy,” he said.
Tariq Alolaqi, senior director customer experience at the Saudi Manpower Solutions Co. (SMASCO), told Arab News: “We are happy to be part of the first recruitment, labor and support services forum … (we are) getting a good response from the clients.”
Yusef Ali Al-Awaji, director of international recruitment at Maharah Human Resource Co., told Arab News: “It is a privilege to be here at the first forum … it has been a great experience and an opportunity for all of us participating as different companies and sharing our experiences to move on for growth and contribution to the local labor market.”
Muhammed Almulhim, sales manager at the Mueen Human Resource Co., told Arab News: “This forum is well timed and needed, it came as a great help to all of us working in the labor sector. The response to the forum is hugely successful and it should be organized annually now.”

A large number of recruitment firms and offices accredited in the Kingdom’s labor market attended the forum and exhibition seeking to establish a culture of reliability between companies and the clients.


ThePlace: Masmak Fort: A historic symbol of the rise of the Saudi nation

SOURCE: Arab News

Time: 14 April, 2018

  • Masmak Fort is an acute and virtually official symbol of the pivotal rise of the Saudi nation
  • Masmak Fort captures the feel of old Arabia and the essence of a struggle that created the Kingdom


The Masmak Fort: The fort is a magnificent citadel that takes us back to the history of Saudi Arabia. This is the fort stormed by the late King Abdul Aziz bin Saud in 1902, creating a turning point in the history of the Arabian peninsula.

It is a tourists’ favorite and a must-visit destination in the capital city of Saudi Arabia. Not only do Saudis and expatriates appreciate the majesty of this vast architectural wonder, but it draws interest from across the world as well.

Today, Masmak Fort is an acute and virtually official symbol of the pivotal rise of the Saudi nation. It captures the feel of old Arabia and the essence of a struggle that created a modern Saudi state today.

Within the fort, visitors can find traditional dresses and crafts, a diwan with an open courtyard, functioning well, and a mosque besides many other attractions that are a feast for the eyes.



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Saudi heritage workers to be trained in France

SOURCE: Arab News

Time: 11 April, 2018

The first employees hired to work at Saudi Arabia’s premier heritage site will be partly trained in France, starting from autumn this year.

The Royal Commission of Al-Ula (RCU) has signed an agreement with Campus France, described as the leading international academic and vocational public institution in France, to train young Saudis who will work at the soon-to-be-developed tourism business in the northwest of the country. The first 200 recruits — all high school graduates or university students — have already begun their basic training in hospitality in Riyadh, studying foreign languages, technology and the history of the 22,000 square kilometers that make up a vast region packed with archaeological and cultural treasures from the ancient world.

The memorandum of understanding was signed by RCU Gov. Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan (also the owner of Arab News) and Jean-Yves Le Drian, France’s minister for Europe and foreign affairs, in the presence of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and French President Emmanuel Macron. Although it is with a French educational establishment, Amr Al-Madani, CEO of the RCU, said young Saudis would also be sent to Britain and the US to further their training.

Under the Saudi-French cooperation deal, French expertise will guide the development of tourism in Al-Ula, preservation of the ancient sites and protection of the natural environment and also nurture the local economy, such as the production and marketing of handicrafts.

Gérard Mestrallet, appointed President Macron’s special envoy for Al-Ula, said: “The signing of this agreement is the birth of a historic project that binds our two countries through an in-depth cultural dialogue.”

The RCU is also joining forces with the Arab World Institute in Paris to produce a touring exhibition on the civilizations of Al-Ula, which will open in spring 2019.


Saudi Arabia joins hands with France on sustainable development of Al-Ula

SOURCE: Arab News

Time: April 11, 2018

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s Royal Commission for Al-Ula signed an agreement of cooperation with France on Tuesday as part of an ambitious development project within the tourism and cultural sector.

The agreement reflects the Kingdom’s commitment to protect and promote world heritage, sustain the tourism and cultural sector with international partners, and reinforce cooperation through concrete actions and structured projects.

Home to dramatic desert landscapes, rock formations and some of the Middle East’s most significant ancient sites, including those built by Lihyanite and Nabataean civilisations of the first millennium BCE, Al-Ula is concidered a wonder of the ancient Arabian world. In northwest Saudi Arabia, Al-Ula has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008.

As one of the Kingdom’s primary cultural development projects, both nations will embark on a collaborative project to planning and articulating development the historical sites of Al-Ula and the necessary infrastructure for tourism in the context of a sensitive transformation of the region.

The agreement was signed in the presence of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and French President Emmanuel Macron as well as the Al-Ula governor, the French special envoy to Al-Ula and France’s foreign minister.


Saudi Arabia’s al-Ula to become world’s largest open museum

SOURCE: Al Arabia English

Time: 11 April 2018

Over 2,000 years old and located in the north-west of Saudi Arabia is al-Ula, the world’s largest open museum.

Al-Ula region is a rocky area which is home to numerous artefacts dating back to 900BC, making it one of the most important heritage sites in the kingdom.

Recently, the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman signed a 10-year agreement with France for developing the site.

The name, which translates into achieving great heights, was derived from the abundance of tall pam trees in the area.

In July of last year, the Saudi Council of Ministers sought to establish a royal commission for the region in the hope of developing it in a manner that complements its historic and cultural values.

Al-Ula’s Royal Commission General-Director, Omar Madani, said that within the next 3-5 years, it is expected that tourists can begin to visit the open museum.

The site is spread across 22,000 square km and hosts several unique artifacts.

Nabatean period

It is worth noting that in 2008, the UNESCO categorized Madain Saleh, an archaeological site in Hejaz, as a World Heritage Site, making it the first Saudi site to go on the list.

Among the many artifacts in Madain Saleh are large graves with decorated facades dating back from 900BC to 100AD. Other artifacts include 50 engravings from the Nabataean period and numerous cave drawings.

The site bares testament to the Nabataean period through the presence of 111 cemeteries, 94 of which are decorated, and water wells. This is also a witness to the Nabataean’s architectural achievements and hydrological expertise.