Saudi Arabia currently represents the single biggest opportunity for hospitality and tourism, and that is set to continue for at least another five years, says PKF hospitality group, a leader in hospitality and tourism consulting.
While there is some doubts about the projects' timeline, one thing is for sure, Saudi Arabia will surprise many and will be a changed country in the years to come, say PKF experts.
Names like NEOM, Red Sea Project, Qiddiya, Diriyah Gate are just some of these mega projects. There are, of course, voices that question how realistic these plans are and how they will be executed on time to meet the deadlines of Vision 2030 but the fact that many have already broken ground and are in the process of being started surprises some of those doubters.
The initial push is to create product that attracts the local traveller, who currently doesn’t find enough reason to travel within his/her own country. The millions of pilgrims who come to Saudi Arabia to visit the holy sites are the next obvious market to be targeted before the discerning international traveller in other markets is lured to come and visit the Kingdom.
According to PKF, most projects announced thus far are valued at well over $100 billion each and are part of Saudi Vision 2030. NEOM, the Red Sea Project, Diriyah Gate and Qiddiya are among the latest ambitious megaprojects announced. Seeking to reduce its reliance on oil and utilize the Kingdom’s strategic position, Vision 2030 focuses on tourism, health infrastructure and education, besides improving the country’s overall image. Amore than $800 billion is expected to be spent on this plan.
“I also think that some may not be seen completed on time. It is a simple fact that knows how materials and, in the end, staff to run these places are not in high supply. Yet, some we’ll see completed on time, no doubt,” said Nils Heckscher, head of Africa, also overseeing PKF’s Middle East operations.