With the news that Saudi Arabia’s travel and tourism sector is expected to contribute more than $81 billion to the country’s GDP by 2026 and domestic tourism – the number of local tourist trips inside Saudi Arabia, exceeded 47.5 million last year (2016) – a 2.3 per cent rise compared to 2015, TIME Hotels is set to expand its presence in the Kingdom with the launch of three new properties.
As receipts from Saudi oil revenues have declined, some government departments and private companies have reduced their travel expenses which in turn has led to an increase in corporate demand for more mid-market hotels, an area of the market that has traditionally been reserved for more luxury properties.
Our current pipeline of hotels and residences meets the demands of multiple markets by offering a high-quality hotel or serviced apartment for a market segment that is currently under-represented in the region.
In April 2016, we signed a deal with Saudi-based Al Fahd Investments. As part of this agreement we will manage two new mid-market hotels, with Yasma by TIME Hotels and Resorts, Qurayyat to open in December this year and Yasma by TIME Express Hotels, Riyadh set to open its doors in Q1 next year.
Yasma by TIME Express Hotel will be the debut for the Express brand in the Kingdom. The 26-storey, three-star King Fahd Road project has 96 rooms and suites, an all-day restaurant, indoor/outdoor café, three meeting rooms and a health club.
Yasma by TIME Hotels and Resorts, a four-star property consisting of 137 rooms and suites, an all-day restaurant, café, health club and two meeting rooms, will open in the northern city of Al Qurayyat, in Al Jawf Province, just 15 kilometres from the Jordanian border.
More significantly, Al-Hadithah Port is the largest and one of the most important land ports in the Kingdom, located just 30km away from Al Qurayyat.
That crossing provides a strategic link to the neighbouring countries of Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Turkey, as well as an entry point for pilgrims coming to perform Hajj and Umrah from Turkey, Russia and Chechnya.
Rounding out our expansion plans is the TIME Beach Villas Resort, the luxury property and newest brand to market. The development will be situated in Jeddah on the upper west side of the city. It will comprise 61 units with detailed Arabic architecture encompassing a full reflection of authentic Gulf design and is scheduled to open in May this year. Located close to the beach, and 20 minutes’ drive from Jeddah International Airport and city centre, the four-star resort will offer fitness and leisure activities, high-speed wi-fi, LED televisions in all rooms and concierge and business services.
Our popularity with guests from the GCC and Middle East market is down to TIME Hotels’ family friendly facilities, competitive room rates and dry hotel environment. Our convenient locations, close to metro stations, major attractions, malls, entertainment and business hubs ensures our popularity with this important feeder market.
• Mohamed is chief executive officer of TIME Hotels
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