Saudi Arabia key to world’s fastest-growing hotel chain

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The gate of OYO Eling Villa Hotel at Maidi Road, Huicheng District, China. (Shutterstock photo)
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Rooms, commonly known as OYO, is a network of budget hotels in India. Headquartered in Gurgaon, it currently operates in more than 200 Indian towns, Malaysia and Nepal. (Shutterstock photo)
Updated 03 November 2019

Saudi Arabia key to world’s fastest-growing hotel chain

  • Oyo Rooms CEO Ritesh Agarwal believes KSA is on the cusp of a boom as local tourism surges following reforms

The founder of Oyo Rooms, the world’s fastest-growing hotel chain, has said that Saudi Arabia is crucial to his $10 billion company’s global growth strategy.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Future Investment Initiative (FII) in Riyadh, Ritesh Agarwal, the firm’s 25-year-old CEO, told Arab News that the Kingdom offered “very exciting, magical opportunities.”

Saudi Arabia is a relatively recent market for the company, but will become increasingly important, he said.

“We came to the Kingdom only about 10 months ago, but it is a very special market for us. At the moment, we have 9,000 rooms in 14 cities. We have gone to 600,000 customers in the first 10 months, and are aiming to get to 2 million next year,” he said.


Read More: INTERVIEW: World’s fastest-growing hotel chain comes to Saudi Arabia


 

Agarwal believes Saudi Arabia is on the cusp of a hotel boom as domestic tourism surges following Vision 2030 reforms.

The planned increase in religious tourism — at least 30 million pilgrims are forecast to travel to Makkah and Madinah by 2030 — is another growth factor, and Oyo has plans to expand into the two holy cities.

Describing the new online visitor visa as a game-changer, Agarwal said the third growth area will be a rise in international tourism to attractions such as the Red Sea development, NEOM and Al-Qiddiya. 

Agarwal’s story is one to inspire any youthful would-be entrepreneur. The boy who began selling SIM cards on the streets of Titlagarh in India now heads a hotel chain that manages more than 1 million rooms in 80 countries.

 

 


Car ploughs through Grand Mosque courtyard in Makkah, crashes into door

Updated 15 min 38 sec ago

Car ploughs through Grand Mosque courtyard in Makkah, crashes into door

  • Police say driver in ‘abnormal’ condition

RIYADH: Video footage captured the dramatic moment a car was driven at high speed across the courtyard of the Grand Mosque in Makkah, before finally smashing into one of the doors on Friday night.

Saudi security authorities then arrested a man who was pulled from the car, state news agency SPA reported.

Reports suggest the car was driven at high speed on a road surrounding the southern square the Grand Mosque, also known Masjid Haramain, SPA added, quoting the official spokesman of Makkah region, Sultan Al-Dossari.

He said the incident happened at around 10:30 p.m..

No one was hurt in the incodent the report added.

Investigators said the driver of the car was a Saudi citizen who was “in an abnormal condition.” 

The offender is being referred to the Public Prosecution office, it said.