IHG Hotels and Resorts is set to bolster its presence in Saudi Arabia with the launch of two new properties, the Regent Riyadh and Intercontinental in the King Abdullah Financial District, slated to open in 2027.  

The move comes as the country is increasingly recognised as a burgeoning global tourism destination, with a particular surge in religious tourism. 

In an exclusive interview with Arab News, IHG CEO Elie Maalouf highlighted the growing gap between the current hotel room capacity in Saudi Arabia and the rising demand.  

Maalouf said: “You have the religious travel, which is a unique segment of the Kingdom alone, which continues to grow. In fact, we understand that today we cannot accommodate all the potential of religious travel. So we probably need over the next ten years, no less than double the hotel rooms that we have today in the Kingdom.” 

The Regent Riyadh KAFD will be the brand’s first property in the capital city, offering 250 rooms and a range of dining and wellness facilities.  

The InterContinental Riyadh KAFD will feature 400 rooms and an array of amenities, including multiple food and beverage outlets, conference spaces, and recreational areas. 

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Maalouf emphasised IHG’s commitment to catering to a diverse clientele, including the upper-luxury segment and the middle class, by developing hotels in both giga-projects and megacities across Saudi Arabia. 

Maalouf explained: “We are opening up new hotels in all the giga-cities that are being developed, there’s NEOM or Diriyah or Red Sea or AlUla. And we are also opening up in the megacities, not just the giga-cities.”  

This strategic expansion is part of IHG’s broader efforts to enhance its operational footprint in the Kingdom. 

Maalouf reflected on IHG’s longstanding relationship with Saudi Arabia.  

“We’ve been in the Kingdom 50 years. I think this year is our 50th year. We started in 1975, Riyadh with the Intercontinental. Now we have over 40 hotels in the Kingdom, nearly 40 under development,” Maalouf stated. 

This month, IHG Hotels & Resorts achieved a major milestone in the Asia Pacific region with 1,000 hotels open.