Mohammed Al-Habtoor ready to conduct fact-finding tour of market
Al Habtoor Group, the UAE-based conglomerate, has said that it is looking to tap into the hospitality sector in Saudi Arabia as the Kingdom looks to diversify away from its oil dependency.
According to a report in Arab News, the conglomerate is already in talks with potential business partners. In the report, Mohammed Al-Habtoor, chief executive and vice-chairman of the family-owned group, was quoted as saying that he will be going on a ‘fact-finding mission’ to the Kingdom soon.
“We have done business there in the past, but now there is more and more news and events happening there. I’ve learned more about Saudi Arabia in the past year than ever before. I’m planning a fact-finding mission there soon to go around the Kingdom and see the opportunities for myself,” he said in an interview with Arab News.
“I will not just be in Riyadh, but in the big tourism areas outside too. I see big potential for the hospitality business there. We are in contact with potential business partners and plan to take it further after the summer. Saudi is very interesting for us. It is the biggest market in the region and Al-Habtoor is a well-known name there. Saudis know it from their leisure visits to Dubai. We will definitely be doing more business there in the future,” he said.
Hotels and leisure developments are expected to be a major element of Saudi Arabia’s economic transformation, as the country looks to move away from its dependency on oil and into new sectors.
Projects such as Neom, the Red Sea Resport and Al-Qiddiya represent major business opportunities for the hospitality industry, as the Kingdom looks to keep tourists’ money within the country, rather than being spent abroad, the report added.
Last month, Al Habtoor Group ended an agreement with Marriott International to manage three ultra-luxury hotels in Dubai. The hospitality group will no longer be involved with the flagship projects at Habtoor City – St Regis Dubai, W Dubai Habtoor City and The Westin Dubai Al Habtoor City. This came into effect from July 31, 2018.