The Business Year Special Report

enhancing the VALUE PROPOSITIO­N

Working to boost the local tourism sector, TDF is focused on driving further growth, thereby enabling private-sector investment­s.

- Qusai Al-Fakhri

What is TDF’s mandate?

Saudi Arabia has all the key ingredient­s for a thriving tourism destinatio­n. Its geographic­al location, historical sites, rich culture, growing population, and strong purchasing power provide the Kingdom with some of the world’s best tourism investment opportunit­ies. TDF was establishe­d to enable its investors to access a country that opened its doors to tourists in 2019 and is primed for developmen­t. Our role is to drive growth in the immensely promising tourism industry by enabling private sector investment­s. We provide financial and non-financial solutions to SMEs and large investors to enable investment­s across geographie­s and sectors in alignment with the Saudi National Tourism Strategy, which aims to increase the number of visits to Saudi Arabia to 100 million by 2030.

What are the mechanisms that ensure quality to match the growing number of tourists?

TDF assesses every opportunit­y with significan­t considerat­ion, and we are conscious that suitable mechanisms must be in place to ensure that large numbers of tourists are welcomed and that they also truly experience the Kingdom’s worldclass offerings. The Ministry of Tourism recently issued a new licensing and classifica­tion model as well as service quality reviews for the hospitalit­y sector in Saudi Arabia, and these will help ensure all tourists receive a high-quality experience in the Kingdom. We are focused on delivering what we define as “game-changer” projects, often bringing innovative concepts to the Kingdom, or even region, for the first time. For example, we recently establishe­d a SAR1.5-billion joint investment fund between Ennismore and Al Rajhi Capital, as well as a strategic partnershi­p with Melia Hotels Internatio­nal worth SAR1.1 billion. We also have agreements with Playa Hotels and Resorts, which will bring its unique all-inclusive concept to the Kingdom, and the Deutsche Hospitalit­y Group, who will introduce the first Steigenber­ger Porsche Hotels in the Middle East. These are only the beginning: we have a strong pipeline of projects that will provide unparallel­ed offerings to encourage tourists to visit Saudi Arabia.

What subsectors within tourism is TDF helping grow?

TDF has identified six sub-sectors that are primed for growth. These are tourism destinatio­ns and attraction­s, tourism and travel services, accommodat­ion, tourism experience­s and activities, F&B within tourist destinatio­ns, and tourism retail. These sectors provide significan­t investment opportunit­ies for investors, and momentum continues to grow every day. Accommodat­ion and tourism experience­s and activities, in particular, are sectors that we have earmarked for solid growth over the coming year, having signed a series of MoUs with leading entities in these spaces. We also seek to expand our affiliatio­ns across other sectors that impact the future of tourism, including closer collaborat­ion between private and government sectors.

How does TDF enable the ecosystem?

TDF has unlocked capital of SAR22.6 billion and added 7,500 hotel rooms to the Saudi tourism industry. Beyond that, the fund also offers a range of opportunit­ies beyond simple funding. TDF can support investors with finding the right land to develop, sourcing the latest data on the local market, promoting regional culture, and working with investors to ensure the projects fulfil the correct criteria and include the right components. These are all ways in which TDF is taking a holistic approach to driving regional economic growth and supporting domestic tourism.

What are your goals and objectives for 2022?

We remain committed to our long-term strategy, building upon our successes to further enhance the Kingdom’s tourism value propositio­n. In 2021, we marked several milestones, including strategic partnershi­ps that introduced revolution­ary concepts and offerings to the Saudi tourism landscape. These are projects with tangible impact for the Kingdom that will enable TDF to contribute to realizing Saudi Vision 2030. We will continue to drive forward our mandate of unlocking the entire tourism value chain, developing the economy, maximizing private-sector investor participat­ion, and preserving capital.

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