Marco Rentsch, a partner at PwC’s Global Consulting Hospitality & Tourism Center of Excellence, has two decades of experience in consulting across EMEA, collaborating primarily with significant government entities in Saudi Arabia. His expertise revolves around crafting and executing innovative strategies that are shaping the dynamic hospitality and tourism sector within KSA. In this exclusive interview, he sheds light on the ever-changing landscape of Saudi Arabia’s hospitality industry.
What is the current state of the hospitality industry in Saudi Arabia and how has it evolved in recent years?
The hospitality industry in Saudi Arabia has experienced substantial growth and evolution. The country actively seeks to diversify its economy beyond oil, resulting in the proactive development of its tourism sector. International hotel chains have entered Saudi Arabia’s hospitality market, leading to the development of luxury resorts. There’s also a heightened focus on delivering world-class services to serve both domestic and international tourists.
What factors are driving investment opportunities in the Saudi Arabian hospitality sector?
The hospitality industry in Saudi Arabia has witnessed significant growth and evolution in recent years. The country actively strives to diversify its economy beyond oil, leading to the proactive development of its tourism sector. This development has attracted international hotel chains, fostering the growth of luxury resorts. Moreover, there’s a strong emphasis on providing world-class services to cater to both domestic and international tourists.
How is Vision 2030 impacting the hospitality investment landscape?
Vision 2030 is prioritizing tourism by heavily investing in infrastructure, such as new airports, entertainment complexes and cultural attractions. This tourism is attracting both domestic and international investors, fostering a favorable environment for hospitality investments. In ambitious projects like NEOM and “The Line,” Vision 2030 reimagines the industry’s structure and delivery.
What are some of the key trends and developments in the Saudi hospitality market?
KSA’s hospitality market witnessed a surge in new hotel openings, including luxury international brands and boutique hotels serving diverse market segments. The emergence of giga projects, like NEOM and the Red Sea Project, has intensified the investment prospects in the hospitality sector. Furthermore, there’s a concerted effort to integrate cutting-edge technology and sustainability practices into hotel operations and guest experiences, setting global benchmarks. Various organizations are also making substantial investments to develop the essential capabilities for in-house brands and operational solutions to activate and eventually manage their assets.
How are major events impacting the demand for hospitality services and what opportunities do they present?
Events like the Formula 1 Grand Prix, Riyadh Season and the Future Investment Initiative have attracted many visitors. Domestic and international travelers contributed to the surge in demand for hospitality services, thus creating lucrative opportunities for investors to develop or expand their hospitality projects to meet demand.