FHS Saudi Arabia
Press room

FHS Saudi Arabia 2023 Preview

Published: 08 May 2023

Dubai, UAE. 6 May 2023. The Future Hospitality Summit (FHS) returns to Saudi Arabia tomorrow, Sunday 7 May, bringing together government leaders, hospitality investors, owners, and operators for part one of the region’s largest, most influential hospitality investment event, taking place at the Al Faisaliah Hotel, Riyadh.

More than 1,000 delegates from the Middle East and beyond will converge in the Saudi capital for three days of networking, panel debates, announcements and experiences at FHS Saudi Arabia, which will be followed by FHS 2023 in Abu Dhabi in September.

Organised by The Bench with the support of host sponsors Al Khozama Investment Group and the Al Faisaliah Hotel, FHS Saudi Arabia will feature an opening address by His Highness Prince Bandar bin Saud bin Khalid Al Saud, Secretary General, King Faisal Foundation (KFF) and Chairman of the Board of Directors at Al Khozama.

FHS Saudi Arabia features an action-packed schedule – covering everything from the future of hospitality to franchising, sustainability to staffing and destinations to design – as well as exciting new features and industry announcements, all under the theme Invest in Change.

Jonathan Worsley, Chairman of The Bench, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be back in Riyadh and beyond privileged to welcome His Highness Prince Bandar bin Saud bin Khalid Al Saud to the stage as he officially opens FHS Saudi Arabia 2023. Featuring our strongest, most impactful programme to date, FHS Saudi Arabia features 150 speakers and over 50 opportunities to learn, deliberate, invest and network through main stage presentations, workshops and unique experiences, shaping the scene for the future of the region’s world-leading, ever-growing hospitality and tourism sectors. We look forward to welcoming our distinguished guests, speakers and delegates as we embark on this top-flight, highly influential event.”

Running in parallel with FHS Saudi Arabia is the Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF) – Saudi Arabia, providing knowledge, connections and inspiration for the restaurant investment industry. GRIF will focus on delivering insights into the innovative and fast-moving Saudi market. GRIF - Saudi Arabia has a particular focus on company founders with over 20 founders taking the stage including Mohammed Jawa, Founder and Chairman MJS Holding; Stephen Flawith, Founder & CEO Yolk Brands; Dr Rana Edwards, CEO & Founder I Love Poke; Olivier Eynard, Co-Founder Meraki, and Simon Wright, Founder & Chairman of TGP International doing a series of ‘Founder Chats’ with Deem Albassam, Co-founder & Managing Director of The Independent Food Company; Sinan Al Saady, Founder & CEO of Cool Inc; Faisal Shaker, and Co-founder & CEO Modern Food Company (MFC).

In addition to exciting culinary tours, GRIF’s agenda includes high level presentations from key industry leaders examining topics such as global trends in eating out, creating dining destinations, sustainability and bringing globally successful concepts to The Kingdom. For the full programme, visit https://www.futurehospitality.com/sa/grif.

Future Hospitality Summit Saudi Arabia highlights include:

Open for business

Work up an appetite for the opening day of FHS Saudi Arabia (Sunday, 7 May) which features a tasty line up discussions, debates and culinary tours at leading F&B destinations as part of GRIF. Break the ice at the FHS Networking Card Exchange – a speed networking session where attendees can make new contacts and get to know fellow delegates before the event gets under way – taking place at 5.30 pm at the Al Omsiat Ballroom B.

Hot on the heels of the Networking Card Exchange is the FHS Welcome Reception, hosted by Al Khozama at the Al Faisaliah Hotel. Starting at 6.30 pm, this is set to be an unmissable night of elegance, sophistication, stunning views, delectable cuisine and live music.

Day one also features an array of Culinary Tours to top-end dining destinations including Meraki hosted by Sanjay Dwivedi, Chef Patron & Culinary Director and Olivier Eynard, Co-Founder, Meraki; The Brasserie hosted by Marcel Kofler, Director of Operations, Al Faisaliah Hotel; MAMO Michelangelo Riyadh hosted by Tunji Olapido, MAMO Chef and Yauatcha hosted by Mehmet Safa Sihlaroglu, General Manager, Yauatcha Riyadh.

The closing GRIF GCC Concepts Culinary Tour includes a visit to Bujairi Terrace, Diriyah’s premium dining district, and will feature lunch at Maiz hosted by Cladys Magagna, Corporate Director of Food and Beverage at Al Khozama, and Sami Almidani, Culinary Ambassador Maiz, followed by visits to Villa Mamas and Altopiano hosted by Roaya Saleh, Founder, Villa Mamas and Altopiano founder by Dr. Aljuhara Aljuhaimi.

Discussions, debates, deliberations

More than 50 presentations, panel discussions, break-out sessions and round-table debates will take place across three platforms – the Summit Stage, Future Stage and Exhibition Stage – exploring key factors affecting the hospitality industry, including sustainability, innovation, human capital and more.

Don’t miss the FHS Intelligence Talks, kicking off on at 9.15 am, Monday, 8 May on the Summit Stage, examining The Evolution and Trends Facing the Saudi Hospitality Sector. Including top level speakers from PwC, JLL, Knight Frank and Baker McKenzie, this insightful session cover a market snapshot of key trends as they relate to the hospitality sector, and the fundamentals underpinning the market from performance, pipeline, costs, staffing and contracts in line with Vision 2030. Also not to be missed is the session Fresh Perspectives on Tourism with Fahd Hamidaddin, Chief Executive Officer, Saudi Tourism Authority.

FHS also features a range of KSA-focused case study debates, including Private and Public Sector Collaboration to Accelerate Lifestyle Developments and Promote New Destinations (11.10 am, 9 May, Summit Stage,) moderated by Marloes Knippenberg, CEO of Kerten Hospitality; and A Lifestyle Fund in the Kingdom (12 noon, 9 May, Summit Stage), which is moderated by Ali Manzoor, Head of Hospitality, Hotels & Tourism at CBRE Middle East.

Plus, there’s a line-up of insightful, closed-door discussions taking place, including the Hospitality Asset Manager Association (HAMA) MEA’s The Great Pre-Opening, led by Rabih Feghali, Board Member, HAMA MEA and Amit Nayak, CHA, Vice President and Executive Board Member HAMA MEA. This round table session shares key learnings and open conversation with asset managers who, with than a million keys opening in MEA in the next five years, find themselves in one of the most unique pre-opening conditions the trade has ever seen.

In addition, there will be a private round table on destination evolution titled Yanbu Reimagined, presented by AWN and Kerten Hospitality and hosted by Abdulrahman Al Bassam, CEO of AWN. This conversation will bring together influential leaders of the private and government sector such as Mahmoud Abdulhadi, Deputy Minister Investment Attraction Ministry of Tourism of Saudi Arabia; Tariq Ali al-Tamimi, Chairman of Al Tamimi; Norah Al Tamimi, Co-Founder AWN; Marloes Knippenberg, CEO Kerten Hospitality, as well as members of the Seven Entertainment team and Saudi Cruises supported by destination Yanbu. Destinations are not built, they are discovered and Yanbu has all the ingredients to turn into the gateway to the Red Sea. An accessible city with state of the art infrastructure, a laid back character and serene coastal views.

New on the agenda

FHS Saudi Arabia boasts new and exciting features this year, including the Start Up Den, where entrepreneurs can pitch their business ideas to a panel of experienced judges and investors.

Launched under The Bench’s commitment to encouraging start-ups and innovative new business ventures, the Start-Up Den takes place at 4.30 pm, 8 May on the Exhibition Stage, with Abdulsalam Alkuwaity, Founder & CEO, SEA Ventures, Amir Amidi, Managing Partner, Travel and Hospitality Center of Innovation, Plug and Play and Guy Hutchinson, President & CEO, Rotana on the judging panel.

Also debuting at FHS Saudi Arabia is the Battle of the Brands, a unique platform for innovative and sustainable hotel concepts to present their brand to the Saudi market. Battle of the Brands (9.30 am, 9 May, Exhibition Stage) showcases dynamic concepts that have yet to arrive in KSA, will be judged by Rabih Feghali, Board Member, Hospitality Asset Managers Association MEA, David Keen, Founder & CEO, QUO and Jonathan Worsley, Chairman & CEO, The Bench.

Experiences like no other

Network like a pro, enjoy spectacular hospitality and feast on delicious cuisine at FHS’ unbeatable receptions. Join fellow FHS delegates at Al Khozama’s Welcome Reception at the Al Faisaliah Hotel on the opening Sunday, and mingle with industry peers at a Networking Session, hosted at Mansard Riyadh, a Radisson Collection Hotel, at 6.30 pm on day two.

Plus, discover Saudi Arabia’s rich history and cultural heritage at a special site tour to Diriyah for a once-in-a-lifetime experience at the birthplace of the Kingdom. Uncover an area developed and preserved by the Diriyah Company and witness the exceptional UNESCO World Heritage site of At-Turaif, one of the world’s greatest gathering places in the heart of Saudi Arabia.

For full details of the 2023 FHS event series, visit https://www.futurehospitalitysummit.com/. For FHS Saudi Arabia event registrations click here.