Posted tagged ‘Saudi Arabia’

Saudi Arabia Welcomes your Meetings

May 18, 2017

Saudi Arabia Welcomes your Meetings
Stand D600 at IMEX in Frankfurt 2017

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been investing significantly in reinforcing its infrastructure and transforming and developing the meetings industry within the country to welcome meetings and business events. It now has more than 600 first class hotels, convention and event facilities and nearly all leading international hotel groups have properties in the major cities.

This will be clearly seen at IMEX in Frankfurt 2017 where the Saudi Exhibition and Convention Bureau is exhibiting for the first time, with many Saudi successful event organising companies  marketing their meetings and events facilities and services.

Currently public investment in the meetings industry in Saudi Arabia up to 2020 is estimated at
6 billion Saudi Riyals (US $1.6billion). These investments include establishing five major convention districts – King Salman International Conference Center in Madinah; King Abdullah Financial District in Riyadh, at the King Khaled International Airport in Riyadh, the King Abdullah Economic City and at the King Abdulaziz Airport in Jeddah, to be completed within the next five years. These are in addition to private sector investments in the industry, represented by hotels with exhibition and conference facilities all over the Kingdom.

Vision 2030
The investment is part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, announced in April 2016, an ambitious but achievable blueprint which expresses long-term goals and reflects the country’s strengths and capabilities.

Vision 2030 is to position Saudi Arabia as a global investment powerhouse and a global hub connecting three continents, Asia, Europe and Africa, capitalising on its status as the heart of the Arab and Islamic worlds and its unique geographic strategic location. Vision 2030 also aims to reinforce and diversify the capabilities of the country’s economy. As such, it will transform the economy away from a dependence on oil production into a industrial conglomerate and transform the Public Investment Fund into the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund. Hosting business events is one of the focal points of the reforms, along with leisure and religious tourism, all means to generate both revenue and employment.
Business events comes under the National Transformation Plan, the centrepiece of Vision 2030, which consists of 755 initiatives costing $100 billion dollars between 2016 and 2020.
HRH Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism & National Heritage (SCTH) and chairman of the Supervisory Committee of the Saudi Exhibition & Conference Bureau (SECB), has said that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will become one of the key destinations in the Meetings industry.

Established in 2013, the Saudi Exhibition and Convention Bureau was created with a mandate to develop the meetings industry.  Eng.Tariq A. Al Essa, Executive Director of Saudi Exhibition and Convention Bureau explains what the Bureau is doing and how it is making progress.
“We are a government organisation responsible for developing and organising the meetings industry in Saudi Arabia. The government recognised the importance of the meetings industry and it approved a development strategy. The SECB is operated differently to other bureaus around the world. Our mandate is not only promotion; it is also the development of the industry.
Overcoming obstacles
“As a first step, we identified the major obstacles to the industry’s growth, including regulatory framework, accessibility, infrastructure capacity, human resources, and the non-availability of information about meetings and events that are being organised”.
“To deal with the matter of visas, we are collaborating with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to smooth the process to obtain visas for speakers and exhibitors. Visitors, speakers, or exhibitors will apply through an e-system and will receive their visa online.
Long heritage in hosting meetings
“Saudi Arabia has a heritage in hosting meetings going back more than 2000 years. Our country has been staging one of the oldest meetings in the world, Okaz, originally an annual convention of Arab poets and of course we have 1437 years of experience in hosting the largest and most complex meeting in the planet – the ‘Hajj’. In 2016 more than 1.9 million international delegates from 163 countries took part in this meeting.
Knowledge economy
“Although Saudi Arabia is starting to pitch for international association meetings, it is also very keen to create unique and sustainable business events based on its strengths, competitive  advantage and the needs of the national economy.
“There are plenty of opportunities for many sectors in Saudi Arabia. We are number one in the world for water desalination and water treatment, and obviously oil, power, petrochemicals, and Islamic finance. This gives the country an opportunity to host business events in these sectors which will positively enhance the economy and society. Our vision is to convert Saudi Arabia into a major destination for meetings in the world, which we can be.
“We started from strengthening this idea at a local level and we will gradually extend our campaign to regional and international level. We have spent time characterising Saudi companies to highlight the importance of meeting, discussing, and exchanging opinions, views, and technologies. We also developed the “ambassador programme” with the aim of selecting and training a number of Saudi medical professionals and scientific associations and federations who will be in charge of contacting international associations to discuss partnership opportunities for hosting events in our country. This will strongly enhance the image of Saudi Arabia as a meeting hub in the region and worldwide, and will make a positive contribution to the tourism sector.
Measuring economic impact
“In addition, to measure the economic impact of the meeting industry in Saudi Arabia and demonstrate the value of the investment we aim to provide information and statistics. We have created an electronic gate – a SAR12 million project that is at the heart of the Saudi meetings industry. All operations and events happening in Saudi Arabia are reported in this e-system.
“The gate is unique in the world, and it provides up-to-date data to assist business professionals from all around the world not only to understand the behaviour of the meetings industry, but the behaviour of all economic sectors in Saudi Arabia.
“Collaborating with other stakeholders is of crucial importance to us, not just for the industry but for the growth of the whole country, in relation to human resources. We want Saudi people to play a key role in the industry. We approached universities and other institutes, and right now some of them offer courses in event management. A recent study conducted by the Saudi Ministry of Labour revealed that Saudi graduate students selected “event manager” as one of the jobs they are most keen to do.
“We have also secured the involvement of investors in the creation of the Saudi Event Management Academy (SEMA), which is the first step in our bid to fill the gap between Saudi’s human resources and the competencies that the industry requires. The academy is unique in the Middle East region.
“Saudi Arabia is the heart of the Arabic and Islamic worlds, it is a pioneering investment powerhouse and the hub connecting three continents. We are creating an environment for successful meetings and exhibitions that will attract business in events and investments.”


#IMEX17 #TariqAlEssa #SaudiArabia #KingdomofSaudiArabia

Signature of management agreement for two hotels in Tehran

September 18, 2015

Signature of management agreement for two hotels in Tehran
AccorHotels, the world’s leading hotel operator, today announced that it has signed a management agreement with Aria Ziggurat for its two inaugural properties in Tehran.

The new hotels – Novotel IKIA and ibis IKIA – are connected to the main terminal of Imam Khomeini International Airport and scheduled to open in October 2015. AccorHotels is the first international hotel group to launch its brands in Iran.

Sébastien Bazin, AccorHotels’ Chairman and CEO, said at a press conference in Tehran today: “We are very excited about signing this partnership with Aria Ziggurat in Iran. We are certain that Novotel and ibis will fit perfectly into the growth momentum that Iran’s hospitality sector is enjoying. Our brands are looking at huge growth potential in this country, which is home to almost 80 million people and is expanding its economy. Our ambition is to develop an important network in the country thanks to our global portfolio of brands covering all segments, from luxury to midscale and economy.

Dr Mehdi Jahangiri, Aria Ziggurat’s Chairman, added: “We believe the expertise of international hospitality groups will upgrade local standards and existing levels of service in our hotels, and ultimately add value to our business. This important agreement with AccorHotels for the management of Novotel and ibis IKIA hotels in Tehran is a prosperous beginning that defines our new offer of hotel service along with an Iranian taste of hospitality and rich culture to our valued customers, partners and employees.

Aria Ziggurat Tourism Development Co., as a subsidiary of SEMEGA, is the owning company of Novotel and ibis IKIA hotels with 4 and 5 star ratings in Tehran. It is a private company established and registered in 2010 under the laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Aria Ziggurat, SEMEGA, Tourism Bank and 37 other sister companies are all members of Tourism Financial Group, a leading holding company in Iran with over 4100 staff members mainly dedicated to developing the tourism and hospitality industry in the country.

The almost 500-room cluster hotels encompass a midscale hotel – Novotel IKIA (296 rooms) – and an economy hotel – ibis IKIA (196 rooms). Strategically connected to the main terminal of Imam Khomeini International Airport, within a 45-minute drive from downtown Tehran, the two new hotels are ideally positioned to attract domestic and international business travelers and tourists. Guests will enjoy a choice of Iranian and international cuisine, large meeting rooms and convention venues, and wellness facilities including spas, fitness centers and swimming pools.

AccorHotels currently manages 71 hotels (17,300 rooms) in the Middle East, spanning every segment from luxury to economy, in 10 countries: Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

Novotel ibis Tehran

AccorHotels is a Group united by a shared passion for hospitality and driven by a shared promise to make everyone Feel Welcome.
Over 180,000 women and men in almost 3,800 AccorHotels establishments look after thousands of guests every day in 92 countries.

AccorHotels is the world’s leading hotel operator and offers its customers, partners and employees:
– its dual expertise as a hotel operator and franchisor (HotelServices) and a hotel owner and investor (HotelInvest);
– a large portfolio of internationally renowned brands covering the full spectrum, with luxury (Sofitel, Pullman, MGallery, Grand Mercure, The Sebel), midscale (Novotel, Suite Novotel, Mercure, Mama Shelter, Adagio) economy (ibis, ibis Styles, ibis budget, adagio access and hotelF1) establishments;
– a powerful marketplace and loyalty program Le Club AccorHotels
– almost half a century of commitment to corporate citizenship and solidarity with the PLANET 21 program.
Accor SA shares are listed on the Euronext Paris exchange (ISIN code: FR0000120404) and traded in the USA on the OTC marketplace (Code: ACRFY)

Follow news on Accor: Book a hotel: |

Novotel is the midscale hotel brand of AccorHotels, the world’s leading hotel operator, present in 94 countries with almost 3,800 hotels and 180,000 employees. Novotel’s consistently high standard of service contributes to the wellbeing of both business and leisure travellers: think spacious, modular-design guestrooms, balanced cuisine available 24/7, excellent meeting facilities, attentive staff, dedicated children’s areas and rejuvenating wellness facilities. With PLANET 21, AccorHotels’ sustainable development program, Novotel commits itself to the planet. To meet today’s challenging environmental and social issues, the brand has chosen to rely on a world renowned environmental certification, ISO 14001. Novotel offers more than 400 hotels and resorts in 60 countries, situated in the centre of major international cities from business districts to tourist destinations. More information at:

As one of the economy brands of AccorHotels, the world’s leading hotel operator active in 94 countries with almost 3,800 hotels, ibis has more than 1031 hotels and 129,000 rooms in 59 countries. The brand innovates constantly to illustrate its values of modernity, comfort and availability. For example, it has created the revolutionary bedding concept Sweet BedTM by ibis; new common areas; the Ibis Kitchen modern food and beverage offer. It also cultivates a spirit of service that drives each of its employees. ibis is the first hotel brand to have obtained ISO 9001 certification – 86% of the network certified – for its professionalism and reliability. In addition, 58% of the ibis network is ISO 14001-certified, concrete proof of the brand’s environmental commitment. Created in 1974, today ibis is European leader in economy hotels and in 4th place in its category worldwide. More information at:

Tourism Financial Group is a leading holding company in Iran with over 4100 staff members and more than 40 member companies active and mainly dedicated to developing the tourism and hospitality industry in the country.
Investment programs in capital markets, commercial projects and production plans in profitable industries, construction projects to develop tourism industry, financial support to scientific, sports and cultural projects, charity and humanitarian activities are also among the large portfolio of activities the Tourism Financial Group accomplishes through its member companies.
Tourism Financial Group has 5 sub-group holding companies in the fields of Tourism, Banking, Construction, Oil & Gas, and Industry and Mines.

Cultural Heritage and Tourism Investment Company, abbreviated in Farsi as SEMEGA, is the executive arm to Tourism Financial Group in respect to hospitality and tourism services offered through its subsidiary companies. SEMEGA was established in 2009 with the Company mission to develop tourism industry in the country. As a specialized tourism holding with more than 15 subsidiaries, SEMEGA is currently participating in capital market and all sectors of tourism industry value chain and prepares itself to take new prominent steps towards its main objectives.
The company aims to promote its market position amongst the largest companies in tourism industry and to contend shareholders and investors through facilitating and developing investment opportunities in the industry besides the optimal utilization of its capacities.
SEMEGA is the first Iranian non-governmental member to UNWTO, and acts as investor, developer and operator to expand the range of activities in order to achieve the vision and realize its slogan: “SEMEGA, a familiar name to all Iranian families.”
As a listed company in Iran Securities & Exchange Organization, SEMEGA was able to meet shareholders satisfaction and receive their participations in the programs for capital market. SEMEGA is the largest shareholder of Aria Ziggurat Company and holds more than 70 percent of the company shares. It is also among the main shareholders of Tourism Bank in Iran.

Aria Ziggurat Tourism Development Co., as a subsidiary of SEMEGA, is the owning company of Novotel and ibis IKIA hotels with 4 and 5 star ratings, ideally located in Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran. It is a private company established and registered in 2010 under the laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Aria Ziggurat is now a leading company active in the fields of hospitality, leisure and tourism development.
In line with a corporate strategy and SEMEGA holding vision to possess the largest chain of 4 and 5 star hotels in the country by 2025, Aria Ziggurat is now focused on new purchasing opportunities including new 5-star hotels in Tehran and other tourism oriented cities of Iran as well as feasible hotel construction plans across the country.

IMEX Group issues findings from tenth Politicians Forum debate – Destinations urged to use report content to increase local political support

November 21, 2012

IMEX Group issues findings from tenth Politicians Forum debate – Destinations urged to use report content to increase local political support
The IMEX Group has today issued a public report on the findings of the IMEX Politicians Forum discussion held during IMEX in Frankfurt in May this year.

With meetings and business events integral to the development of knowledge-based economies and increasingly central to the prosperity and future growth of nations and cities around the world, the annual IMEX Politicians Forum in Frankfurt provides both a private and a public platform to review industry progress.

The latest report provides an overview of the days’ content, including the case studies and papers presented by Business Events Sydney, Bordeaux, the European Society of Cardiology, Excel – London, Germany, Mexico and San Diego.

Close to 130 participated in the Forum, including politicial representatives and industry leaders. This year’s special guest speaker was Sir Rocco Forte, Chairman of The Rocco Forte Hotels Group. The Forum’s keynote speaker was Nick de Bois, MP, Chair of the UK All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Events. 36 politicians and government officials from 16 countries also participated – the largest number to date. They represented: Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, South Africa, Sweden and the UK.

One high point was the participation of Gloria Guevara Manzo, State Secretary of Tourism, Mexico, and member of President Calderon’s cabinet. She spoke about her country’s continued growth and ambition. Now one of the world’s top 15 economies, 190 million tourists visited Mexico in 2011, almost 23 million of which were international travellers. Manzo explained that Mexico’s goal is to become one of the world’s top five destinations by 2018 and recognises that meetings, incentive travel and events have a part to play in reaching that target.

Together with its three partner associations (AIPC, JMIC and European Cities Marketing), the IMEX Group hopes that destinations and convention and visitor bureaus in particular will use the report to encourage further political engagement in – and understanding of – the industry among their local political representatives. Its findings also demonstrate how far the industry has developed over the past 10 years and how much more assertive, cohesive and informed it has become.

The IMEX Group furthered its commitment to industry development through political influence at IMEX America this year when it held the first ever Political Advocacy Forum in conjunction with partners, the US Travel Association. This Forum was attended by special guest, Mayor of Las Vegas, Carolyn Goodman, together with CEO of US Travel, Roger Dow and close to 100 participants and media took part. IMEX will further advance its advocacy efforts in 2013 through PCMA’s new Industry Business Forum for local leaders.

IMEX has also made a 3-minute informational video available for free industry download. The video explains the importance of lobbying at a local level and is designed to be viewed by destinations and local government representatives alike.

A full copy of the IMEX in Frankfurt Politicians Forum Report plus a shorter summary is available online.

The IMEX Politicians Forum in Frankfurt is co-organised by ECM (European Cities Marketing) and AIPC (International Association of Congress Centres) and held under the auspices of JMIC (Joint Meetings Industry Council). It is supported by the German Convention Bureau (GCB), the Frankfurt Convention Bureau, Messe Frankfurt, International Meetings Review, Brähler and Sixt.


March 14, 2012

GIBTM SHAPING UP FOR MAJOR BUSINESS | Saudi Arabia leads regional Hosted Buyer attendance

Press Release: 14th March 2012
With less than two weeks remaining until GIBTM – the leading event for the meetings, incentives and business travel industry in the Gulf Region ( – the organisers, Reed Travel Exhibitions, have announced that there will be 270 Hosted Buyers attending from countries across the globe with a new emphasis on Saudi meetings, events and business professionals with 25 confirmed to participate.

As a result of the interest generated from Hosted Buyers attending the show from countries including Australia, Brazil, China, India, Qatar, Russia, The U.S and UK, some exhibitors including Emirates Palace, The Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort and Spa, Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company, Rocco Forte Hotel Abu Dhabi, Jumeirah at Etihad Towers and Armani Hotel Dubai and Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority have now opened second diaries to accommodate the demand for appointments pre-scheduled.

The emphasis of the event is on business tourism, meetings, events and conferences with over 300 exhibitors on the show floor from the Gulf and wider Middle East. First time exhibitors include: Kuwait Ministry of Commerce and Industry Tourism Sector’, Qatar Airways, Royal Brunei Airlines, Convention Bureau Italia S. P. A., Show Gizmo, 1001 Direk Cistern, PSideo SA, Oman Convention Center, Hotel Pullman Dubai, Mall of Emirates, Yas Viceroy Hotel Abu Dhabi, Golden Isle Travel (Pvt) Ltd., Bonnington Hotel – Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Rosewood Abu Dhabi and Hyatt Capital Gate Hotel.

With the industry growing year on year as many new venues and products are launched, this year both the Government of Dubai and Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority are increasing the size of their stand to accommodate the growing number of exhibiting partners.

Lois Hall, Reed Travel Exhibitions Event Director GIBTM commented: “The combination of so many new exhibitors as well as the growth in the industry regionally and internationally means we are looking forward to a busy show. The major increase in Saudi Arabian Hosted Buyers are a real sign that GIBTM is a powerful place to do business and together with our new focus on Business Travel we hope to also see many more new faces from the corporate travel sector.”

ACTE, The Association of Corporate Travel Executives, will also, for the first time, provide ground breaking educational sessions as a result of their new strategic partnership with GIBTM. The aim of each education seminar will be to help individuals who are involved in planning business travel for their clients make well informed decisions, reduce costs, enhance performance and ultimately increase their network of suppliers. Seminars include:

· First step in optimising your business travel spend: Building and implementing a travel policy – Do’s and Don’ts

· Unravel the mystery of business travel technology distribution costs and how it affects the price you pay

· Improve finance processes and optimise travel payment systems in the Middle Eastern Region

· Delivering savings in an upbeat Middle Eastern market

Companies interested in exhibiting at GIBTM 2012 should contact Danielle Keogh, Head of Sales for GIBTM – (0208 910 7191) or Shinu Pillai, Regional Sales Manager – (+971 4 364 2815).

For more information on how to register to attend GIBTM please visit and to find out more information on education sessions at GIBTM, please visit

GIBTM 2012 takes place on the 26th-28th March 2012.

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