Saudi Arabia hires Paradores to consult on national hotel chain

SAUDI ARABIA Spain’s Paradores de Tourismo SA will assist the kingdom of Saudi Arabia in converting historic buildings into hotels under a historic pact announced this week by Prince Sultan Bin Abd-al-Aziz al-Saud, chairman of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities.

The publicly owned Paradores will help the Saudi government with establishing a company similar to Paradores to promote tourism and manage historic buildings as hotels. Paradores will assist the Saudi government with planning and feasibility studies, restorations, building rehabilitations and operational management training.

Paradores will not brand the properties, nor will it manage them directly. Financial terms of the agreement have not been finalized, but the deal could ultimately generate some US$2 million annually for Paradores, according to published reports.

Paradores President Miguel Martinez approached Saudi Arabia about the project after realizing his company could generate additional revenue as a consultancy. Paradores, which is partly owned by the Spain government but which operates as a separate company, manages about 90 hotels throughout Spain, mainly in historic buildings that were not originally built as hotels.

Martinez expects to sign a similar deal with Oman before the end of the year to consultant for the sultanate.