Sheikh Abdul Mohsen Bin Andul Aziz Al Hokair
Hounder of Al Hokair Group
Sheikh Abdul Mohsen Bin Abdul Aziz Al Hokair has had the same crystal clear vision right from the beginning. Widely known as the 'sheikh of Gulf tourism', he was one of the earliest investors in the field. While the government of Saudi Arabia has only just begun to gradually open up its treasures to the millions interested in visiting the country, Al Hokair Groupfor Tourism and Development, today one of the largest dedicated to tourism and entertainment in KSA, pioneered the early development of the sector back in the sixties, building its first small theme park in the Malaz district of Riyadh back in 1965 when nobody would invest a single halala on anything unrelated to oil.
In the following five decades, Al Hokair Group has expanded into new fields and grown dramatically in scale. Al Hokair Group now has more than 6,000 employees and plays a leading role in the fields of entertainment, leisure and tourism. The Group's portfolio includes more than 70 amusement and theme parks, a number of international restaurant franchises and the largest chain of hotels and recreational cities in the Middle East, amounting to 27 properties.
“In the industry he is known as the 'sheikh of Gulf tourism',” says Fadi Mazkour, Director of Business Development and Marketing of Al Hokair Group, “because of his vision to develop tourism in the KSA and start promoting the country as a destination, which was a new idea that took everybody by surprise at the time. KSA was not seen as a travel destination due to the difficulties in obtaining visas and to circulate normally, and because of all the restrictions in general.” But the country always had plenty of historical sites and breathtaking landscapes on offer. Many of these potentially attractive destinations are now being developed for local and GCC tourism. HRH Prince Sultan and the SCTA are now committed to open both remote desert areas and populous urban areas for tourism.
However, while the authorities feel the international pressure to change things in the kingdom faster and more drastically than what is happening now, Mazkour adds, “they want to respect and maintain traditions and basic beliefs and they want the people to see this and know about it. We should not just talk about these issues as 'restrictions', but also see them as respect for traditions.”
“In every tourist fair abroad which we visit, such as recently in London and Berlin, we can feel a real interest in the country, and it is not only Muslims who want to find out more about the history and traditions and the archaeological remains in the country,” Mazkour continues. “Although on the level of entertainment, KSA is not a very attractive destination - with no cinemas, no nightlife, etcetera - it is still an attractive proposition for families. And furthermore, there is a simple equation at work here: an unknown, little visited place that opens up for the first time is sure to become a top destination,” he predicts.
Our latest investment report on Kuwait was recently published in one of the leading Spanish dailies, ABC. FindMe in Kuwait explores the economic perspectives of Kuwait and the country´s future plans to compete with its fast developing neighbours. Once the leading country of the Gulf, Kuwait has remained silent for the past decade. And although many would like to see faster changes, Kuwait is moving, at its pace, to them. Inexorably. Learn about who is who in Kuwait and read what the leaders say about their own future in our upcoming release: FindMe in Kuwait Mobile app.
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Global Gulf Consulting has concluded its latest production on Bahrain, FindMe in Bahrain giving the country a fresh approach after a couple of difficult years of local demonstrations that matched the global recession. Bahrain is a small island in the Arabian Gulf with an incredible potential for logistics, industries and tourism. FindMe in Bahrain was supported by both the public and private sector of Bahrain. Banagas, Nass Corporation, BBK and DHL were GGC strategic partners in the development of the series among others.
FindMe in Bahrain is available at the local bookstores Jashamal and online as well as in the Apple Store. It is a full business leisure and business guide for any investor or visitor interested in traveling to Bahrain or for those that already live there.
FindMe in Saudi offers a multi-faceted overview combining business and leisure, economy and heritage. The book aims to capture the current development of Saudi Arabia in the words of the people who live and work there. It is an authoritative source of information for investors, businessmen and travellers produced to firmly position KSA as an attractive investment destination.
In contains general information about the country´ economic performance and who is who as a sectorial overview and a leisure guide.
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