Lifestyle Hospitality Fund reaches ‘final negotiation stages’ of asset purchase: officials 

Public-private sector collaboration will boost tourism investment in Saudi Arabia, says deputy minister

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia̵7;s government is collaborating with the private sector to double tourism investment in the coming years and create a sustainable and growing environment, according to a top government official.

Speaking at the Future Hospitality Summit currently being held in Riyadh, Mahmoud Abdulhadi, deputy minister of investment attraction, said the Kingdom’s leadership is striving to present investors with the appropriate tools to boost wealth in the sector.

“Our role today in the concept of public-private partnership is to ensure that we work closely with the private sector to create a sustainable investible tourism environment in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the minister said during a panel Case Study – Private and public sectors collaborate to accelerate lifestyle development and promote new destinations.

Abdulhadi said, in the coming three to four years, the flow of investment in the private sector will more than double that of the last three to four years.

Additionally, the apparent shift from investors looking at single properties to a portfolio is changing the government’s approach to how people view the tourism sector.

Whether it is pure lump sum assets, large portfolios, or an interest in a market segment, the range of different interests and perspectives continues to expand, he said, adding, “One of the beauties of being a nascent sector in an economy such as the Kingdom is There is no one answer. Ultimately what is our goal, there are many ways to reach it.

Abdulhadi believes that the previous model of pure corporate hotels is probably falling out of favor and that novel edges are being introduced to keep up with the changing trends.

“The beauty in this is that in the riskier sectors, the government either through PIF (Public Investment Fund) or other authorities these sectors are actually creating demand, creating products, creating benchmarks,” he said .

To become a global tourism hub, the state seeks to attract 100 million tourists annually by 2030, with a planned investment of $1 trillion in the tourism sector under the National Tourism Strategy.

Major recreational, heritage and cultural sites, such as Qidiya near Riyadh, AlUla in the northwest, and Al-Saudah in the Asir region, have been developed for that purpose.

Travel facilitation steps including extensive digitization of services have markedly affected the number of Hajj and Umrah visitors from the Muslim world.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, around 120 million domestic and foreign tourists have visited Saudi Arabia since 2019.

The FHS Saudi Arabia is taking place at the Al Faisaliyah Hotel in Riyadh and is being organized under the theme of “Invest in Change”, focusing on the importance of sustainability, innovation, start-ups and human capital development .