Corp gains in Saudi hotel push

Dubai-based Corp Executive Hotels plans to build five hotels in Saudi Arabia, bringing more than 1000 rooms to the kingdom.

Corp Executive Hotels will build five hotels in the KSA to capitalise on a Saudi push to attract more tourists to the kingdom.
Corp Executive Hotels will build five hotels in the KSA to capitalise on a Saudi push to attract more tourists to the kingdom.

Dubai-based Corp Executive Hotels plans to build five hotels in Saudi Arabia, bringing more than 1000 rooms to the kingdom.

The hotels will be built in Riyadh, Al Khobar, Jeddah, Dammam and Al Hasa.

"At the moment we have the strongest development happening in Saudi Arabia, especially for Corp Executive Hotels," said Michel Noblet, managing director of Hospitality Management Holdings, the parent company of Corp.

A 140-room hotel will go up first in Riyadh with completion sometime in 2009. Dammam will have a 40-room facility by 2010. A 50-room hotel is slated for Al Hasa and Al Khobar will be the site of a hotel with 265 rooms.

The Al Hasa and Al Khobar projects will be completed in 2010. The Red Sea port city of Jeddah is scheduled to have a 600-room hotel finished in 2011.

Contracts for the five projects have been awarded, but Corp Executive Hotel officials declined to release specifics. Details of the architect, MEP and project manager were also withheld.

A study by think tank Fast Future and Global Futures and Foresight found that $1 trillion is being invested in leisure projects across the Middle East.

The Middle East Leisure Landscape 2020 determined that the UAE and Saudi Arabia are the main countries driving the surge in investments.

The hotel projects, coupled with the expansion plans in Jeddah's King Abdul Aziz International Airport, are part of the Saudi Government's $4.8 billion project to increase the airport's annual capacity to 80 million passengers, creating a demand for hotels.

The Saudis recently created a tourism plan to allow Westerners in the kingdom.

Saudi Arabia has long been closed to tourism, allowing only Hajj pilgrims, expatriate workers and businessmen within its borders.

But the government has pledged to make the region attractive not only to Muslim tourists who want to visit the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah, but to Westerners who want to visit Riyadh, Jeddah and the Eastern Province.

The recent decision to create a tourism plan to allow Westerners in the kingdom is part of a campaign by Saudis to dispel stereotypes about Islam and Saudi culture.

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