Tourism growth in Saudi Arabia propelling hospitality industry, says Rotana official
RIYADH: The exponential growth witnessed in Saudi Arabia’s tourism sector underscores the profound influence of Vision 2030 in this domain, according to a top official.
Elucidating the contribution of Rotana Hotels to the development of the tourism industry, Chief Operating Officer Eddy Tannous expressed that the current period in Saudi Arabia is exhilarating.
He noted that since the proclamation of Vision 2030, the Kingdom has undergone a notable shift, particularly within the hospitality sector.
“Rotana has been present in Saudi Arabia over more than 10 years. However, we are expediting and fastening our growth to be in line with the vision of 2030 to be present in all the key cities,” the official told Arab News at the Saudi Tourism Forum in the Kingdom’s capital.
Tannous added they have flagship hotels in Riyadh and Makkah, and they are set to open in Madinah very soon.
“Today, we manage eight hotels in the Kingdom, and we have a pipeline of another eight hotels. So, we will be doubling in size in the next few years with a lot of other opportunities that we are working on to grow further than that,” he said.
Addressing initiatives and innovations implemented by Rotana to guarantee a secure and pleasurable experience at their hotels, Tannous emphasized that guests constitute the central focus of all their endeavors.
He went on to explain that enhancing the overall experience and keeping guests comfortable by following international standards for their health and safety is Rotana’s top priority.
The official elaborated on the fact that the company’s focus extended beyond the security and well-being of their guests to environmental health and safety as well, encompassing all facets of activities within the hotel premises.
Discussing the challenges and opportunities within the hospitality sector in the Middle East and specifically in Saudi Arabia, Tannous said these problems are inherently positive in nature.
“They are challenges that would come with very fast growth. In this region we have leadership that is very ambitious. We have very ambitious targets to achieve. In Saudi Arabia, the growth is very fast. The challenge for us operators is to be able to keep up with this pace,” he pointed out.
Tannous further highlighted their focus on cultivating Saudi talent. He went on to share that their current workforce composition reflects a substantial 39 percent representation of nationals from the Kingdom, indicating a positive trajectory in meeting their human resources objectives.
“The good news also is that 31 percent of all Saudi nationals are females. So, we have our systems in place, our trainings and development programs in place to be able to attract the right talent,” the official said.
Reflecting on Rotana Hotels’ approach to cultural sensitivity in delivering hospitality services, Tannous shared insights based on his three-year residence in Saudi Arabia during a previous phase of his life. He emphasized the genuine hospitality inherent in the Saudi culture; something that might go unnoticed until one experiences it firsthand.
“I have heard it a lot especially from Europeans or Americans or foreigners that have been here for the first time; how blown away they are when they experienced the simple act of hospitality. For the regular Saudi person, it is something normal,” the official said.
Tannous added: “We are a company or a brand that was created in this region … We understand the values, and we share the same values. So, for us, we enjoy these sensitivities if you might call them, I would call them particularities, and we try to even focus on them as positives not as negatives.”
The official concluded by emphasizing that Rotana, having originated in the Middle East region, specifically in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, views itself as an integral part of the ‘exceptional’ strategies being implemented in Saudi Arabia. He concluded by expressing their immense pride in being actively involved in the current developments taking place in the Kingdom.