The total contribution of the travel and tourism sector to the country’s GDP in 2011 was $43 billion, which equals 5.4%, with a forecasted growth of 3.7% in 2012 to $44.6 billion, according to the 2012 Economic Impact Report Saudi Arabia published by the World Travel and Tourism Council.
The hospitality sector in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has witnessed an unprecedented boom over the last several years.
The latest figures released by Business Monitor International (BMI) predict the number of visitors to KSA will increase to 15.8 million by 2014; approximately 2.8 million more than in 2010, which in turn has translated into a steady increase in demand within all hospitality related sectors, including the food and beverage industry.
According to an eTN Global Travel Industry News report pertaining to the first quarter of 2012, international tourists have spent a total of SR 7.1 billion in the Kingdom of which seven per cent was spent on food. The total expenditure of domestic tourists amounted to SR 7.4 billion, with a staggering 23 per cent spent on food and beverages.
Even though Saudi Arabia is a leading player in regional food production, over $5 billion worth of food and beverage products are currently imported every year to the Kingdom. According to the Middle East Foods Report 2012, Saudi Arabia imports approximately 63 per cent of the entire Middle East’s food and beverage imports.
With the increasing demand within the country and the boom in the hospitality sector, there is a new potential for foreign investment in the food and beverage industry. The Alpen Capital GCC Food Sector Report 2011 recognised that external investments in the food processing sector have ascended significantly, with strong multinational food and beverage companies ready to conquer the Kingdom’s market and, given the significant growth potential, also setting up food processing plants in Saudi Arabia.
With some of the largest international and local brands in the business being displayed at The Hotel Show Saudi Arabia 2012 at Jeddah Center for Forums and Events between November 17th and 19th 2012, the growing importance of the food & beverage sector cannot be overemphasised.
“Food and beverage products are at the heart of the hospitality industry. With the developing potential for both the hospitality and food & beverage markets in Saudi, we feel that this is the most opportune moment to bring a broad range of local and international products from these sectors to The Hotel Show Saudi Arabia,” Tim Wilson, Event Manager, dmg::events, said.
“The exhibition is not only an effective way for local companies to showcase their products and to open the doors to a wider international audience but also for exhibitors from abroad to network and introduce themselves to the Saudi and the GCC market,” he added.
“We are very excited about the business opportunities offered by The Hotel Show Saudi Arabia,” Jean Marc Lourau, Chief Executive Officer of Bayara, Arabic trademark of Gyma Food Industries, one of the leaders in dried fruits and spices, said.
“Gyma Food Industries together with Fine Food Industries has already been a successful player in the region for over 20 years and we are very optimistic that The Hotel Show Saudi Arabia will help us to establish and boost our recently launched trademark Bayara as a strong and reliable brand with high quality products on the Saudi and Middle Eastern market.”
Held under the patronage of HRH Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, President and Board Chairman of Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA), The Hotel Show Saudi Arabia is organised by MICE Arabia Group, co-organised by dmg::events, and is a sister show to The Hotel Show, now in its 13th year in Dubai and renowned as the largest hospitality supply event in the MENA region.