AMSA Hospitality and Accor Join Forces to Redefine Saudi Arabia’s Hospitality Landscape


The Integrator had an exclusive interview with Denis Sorin, President of Hospitality, AMSA Hospitality.

How does AMSA Hospitality differentiate itself in the industry and what is its core principle?

AMSA Hospitality is not just an ordinary company; it stands out with its unique approach. We have a unique presence on the global market with the Arabian hospitality proposal. We go much further than anyone else down that road. It’s not only décor elements and Arabized uniforms, it’s a new hospitality concept. We were able to come up with such an out of box forward thinking – imagine: bringing centuries-old Arabian traditions of welcoming and generosity to 21st-century expectations -, so we were able to come up with this unique Arabian hospitality concept thanks to our core principle, which is being the hallmark in the industry. To us, being the hallmark means being different and leading the way. We consider ourselves a citizen company, which encompasses caring for the environment, and people, and setting an example for others. When we hire someone, it’s not just based on their skills and expertise, but also their concern for their colleagues and the environment. A hotel is more than just a physical structure; it’s an ecosystem of people, and we value that aspect. We also extend our care to suppliers and various other stakeholders.

As an example of our commitment, we are in the process of implementing a fair trade system. This means that we strive to ensure that the products we purchase, including items like bed sheets, linens, and tableware, are sourced through fair trade practices. We aim to eliminate any involvement of child labor or any unethical practices from our supply chain. AMSA Hospitality goes beyond providing exceptional hospitality; we strive to make a positive impact in every aspect of our operations, caring for both people and the environment.

What kind of opportunities do you see in KSA for the hospitality industry that led you to start this startup?

Saudi Arabia is becoming a prime destination not just within the Middle East, but also beyond it. The transformation that has taken place in the past couple of decades is remarkable. With the multitude of projects being announced almost daily, one can envision the potential for numerous opportunities. It seems like there could be two hotels here, ten projects there, and perhaps even five more in another location. It’s a market with endless needs, and we can only try our best to meet them all.

As you know, during the 2023 edition of the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, we signed a global agreement with Accor to establish 18 hotels in the Kingdom’s secondary cities. This aligns with Saudi Arabia’s Project 2030, an initiative by the government to develop not only the major cities like Riyadh and Jeddah but also the secondary cities. The aim is to enhance the quality of hotels in these areas. So, we decided to contribute by venturing into these cities, and developing top-notch hotels in collaboration with Accor.

How does the Arabian hospitality industry differ from other parts of the world?

Western countries already have Western hospitality ingrained in their culture, so they don’t need to promote it actively. However, Arabian hospitality has its distinct identity. We proudly claim our Arab heritage and possess our unique way of thinking. When we delve into the concept of Arabian Hospitality, we ponder upon the dominance of Westernized hotel chains in the region. Most renowned chains follow a Western model, but we challenge that norm. We believe in standing apart and saying, “No, we want to be different.”

Consider Asia, where the Shangri-La brand represents an authentic and luxurious Asian experience. We aim to achieve a similar status for the Arab world. We aspire to become the Shangri-La of the Arab region, offering a genuinely Arab lifestyle hospitality experience that showcases our cultural richness and values available to all, that’s why our new brand aims at the midscale market.

What kind of initiatives are you currently working on to showcase Arab culture in modern tourism?

When you visit Saudi Arabia, one of the notable observations is that Saudi nationals are not yet the majority of the employees in hotels, particularly in areas such as restaurants and housekeeping. To address this issue, we have taken the initiative to maximize the Saudization of our hotels. In the ongoing project with Accor, our goal is to have our hotels staffed by 80-90% Saudi nationals. We are not merely pretending; we are genuinely committed to Saudization.

What are your upcoming plans for AMSA Hospitality in the next five years?

We have ambitious plans, although I cannot disclose them at this moment. However, I can assure you that we will be announcing them next year. We work on our plans well in advance before implementing them. Currently, our primary focus is on the development of secondary cities. The project entails the establishment of 18 hotels, which is a substantial number. We also aim to develop more hotels in major cities, where we keep our unique approach in terms of people management, Saudization, and care.

In cities like Riyadh and Jeddah, you either find local hotels with lower quality or international brands dominating the market. We want to differentiate ourselves by offering an authentic experience. When visitors come to these cities and seek something genuine, we want them to choose us. Therefore, our project includes developments in Jeddah, Riyadh, and anywhere else where we see an opportunity in addition to the 18 hotels in collaboration with Accor. Rest assured, there is much more to come beyond these ventures.