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Hilton reveals its largest development pipeline for Mideast in the Kingdom

Saudi Arabia, February 4, 2019

HILTON revealed at the Saudi Hotel Investment Conference its largest development pipeline in the Middle East is in the Kingdom. The hotel chain is expanding its footprint throughout the region with the Kingdom having the largest number of Hilton hotels in development

Speaking ahead of the event Carlos Khneisser, VP of Development, MENA, said: “We’ve been operating the Kingdom since 1992 and have grown very strong relationships with owners over that time. This has allowed us to grow to 11 hotels and notably to build a pipeline of 35 new hotels under development, which will add over 10,000 new rooms in the coming 3-5 years. This represents our largest pipeline in the Middle East and the confidence we have in the strength of the market with increasing demand for business, leisure and religious tourism.”

Religious tourism makes up the bulk of KSA tourism with over 2 million visitors annually. Over the past 3 years business tourism is growing at an increasing rate. The tourism sector in Saudi Arabia has grown at a much faster rate than the wider economy, according reports by the Saudi Tourism Information and Research Center (MAS). Tourism revenues rose from SR57.3 billion in 2004 to an estimated SR211 million in 2018.

This upward trend is expected to continue for both the hospitality and tourism industries. The government’s diversification mandate is clear - Tourism is set on a trajectory to make the highest contributions to GDP from the non-oil sectors.

In late 2018, the Kingdom’s first ever e-visa system was piloted bringing in tourists from 80 countries for the Formula E. A timeline for when the system will go into full effect is yet to be announced but reports from the government state passport holders from Schengen countries, the US and Australia will be permitted to travel to the Kingdom with e-visas. The changes to policies and easing access to the country positions the country a prime investment destination.

Hilton is this week confirming three new additions to its pipeline in the shape of newly agreed projects with two different investment partners:

• Hilton Garden Inn Madinah and DoubleTree by Hilton Madinah in partnership with Pan Kingdom Holdings

DoubleTree By Hilton Abha Al Murooj – The first hotel by an international chain to open in the city of Abha, the capital of the Aseer province - home to wildlife, forests and the towering Jabal Soodah peak. The hotel is expected to open in 2 years, bringing 156 new hotel rooms with full fledge range of amenities including 4 F&B outlets, 2 fitness centers, 465sqm events space, 2 fitness centers and 2 outdoor pools, making all the hotel services accessiible to both men and women.

DoubleTree by Hilton Madinah - A newly built tower on King Faisal Road, the hotel will be walking distance (190 meters) from the city’s Holy Mosque. The property will consist of 242 guestrooms including 26 suites and feature two food and beverage outlets, a fitness center and 125sqm of meeting space. Expected to open in 2022, all guest rooms will be fitted to the same upscale standard, enjoyed by visitors to DoubleTree by Hilton worldwide.

• Hilton Garden Inn Madinah - Also expected to open in 2022, this mid-market Hilton Garden Inn brand will comprise of 430 guest rooms and 150 square meters of meeting areas, making it one of the brand’s largest hotels in the Middle East. Its location also leaves guests within walking distance from the holy mosque and other sites of historical importance. The hotel will include brand signature features such as its all day dining and Garden Café concepts.