Saudi Arabia's Tourism Development Fund (TDF) has signed a MoU with Ennismore, a London-based developer of hospitality properties, at the 5th Future Investment Initiative (FII) in Riyadh to explore the establishment of a SR1.5 billion ($400 million) fund that would bring its lifestyle brands to at least 12 destinations in the kingdom.
Under the MoU, TDF would identify locations and provide financing options for projects throughout the kingdom, while Ennismore would spearhead the programming, design and operations of the destinations, under its lifestyle brands.
Set up this year, Ennismore is a joint venture between Sharan Pasricha, Founder & Co-CEO, and hospitality giant Accor, which is today among the world’s largest and fastest-growing lifestyle companies with 87 operating properties globally, with an additional 141 hotels in the pipeline.
The Ennismore brands are: 21c Museum Hotel, 25hours, Delano, Gleneagles, Hyde, JO&JOE, Mama Shelter, Mondrian, Morgans Originals, SLS, SO/, The Hoxton, Tribe and Working From_.
The development of lifestyle destinations – an undersupplied segment of the Saudi tourism industry – would align with the National Tourism Strategy’s 10 key destinations, including Riyadh, Jeddah, Eastern Province, Aseer, Al Ula, Taif, Madinah, Al-Baha, Hail and Al-Jouf, delivering around 2,000 keys.
TDF would continue to provide new opportunities for private sector investors in the Saudi tourism space, while aligning with wider sustainable tourism efforts throughout the Kingdom, prioritizing the protection of nature and supporting local communities. Both TDF and Ennismore are committed to employing, training, and developing Saudi talent, creating up to 3,000 jobs.
Increasing the presence of lifestyle hospitality brands is at the heart of the Kingdom’s strategy for welcoming brands that take an active role in driving community and build deep connections with guests through shared values, unique design, and authentic restaurant destinations, both for international visitors and locals.
During a ceremony attended by Ahmed Al Khateeb, Minister of Tourism for Saudi Arabia and Chairman of TDF, Sébastien Bazin, Chairman and CEO of Accor and Qusai Al-Fakhri, CEO of TDF, signed the MoU in the presence of Sharan Pasricha and Gaurav Bhushan, Co-CEOs of Ennismore.
On the strategic deal, Al Fakhri said: "This MoU marks an important milestone for TDF as we continue to enable private sector investors to benefit from the massive opportunities offered by Saudi’s growing tourism sector."
"The fund would channel private sector investments to various areas of the Kingdom, enriching the visitor experience and enhancing the value of strategic projects through globally renowned hospitality brands. These new lifestyle destinations would create unique experiences for visitors
and residents to enjoy, providing them with exciting entertainment and F&B offerings, as well as co-working spaces," he stated.
"They would also focus on ensuring the social, environmental, and economic sustainability of the areas they are located in," he added.-TradeArabia News Service