Hospitality group Accor has signed a master development agreement with Saudi startup Amsa Hospitality to develop and franchise 18 hotels across second-tier cities within Saudi Arabia over the next ten years.

Amsa Hospitality will develop a range of Accor’s economy and midscale brands, including ibis Styles, Mercure, Mercure Living, Novotel, Novotel Living, and the recently launched Handwritten Collection, while also acting as the third-party operator by leasing and franchising the assets.

As part of the agreement, Amsa Hospitality will be responsible for hotels in several cities across the kingdom including Ha’il, Jubail, Taif, AlUla, Tabuk and Jazan, among others.

Each hotel brand will be geared to cater to a different target audience. The ibis Styles brand, for example, focuses on value-conscious business and leisure travellers.

The mid-range Mercure is inspired by the local surroundings, and celebrates local people and cuisine, while the Handwritten Collection provides stylish hotel settings.

“Amsa Hospitality is committed to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 success, a vision that set the path for our development locally, regionally and globally,” said Mohammad Alathel, Amsa Hospitality’s chief executive officer. “We are attached to the kingdom’s ambitious plan for the development of the country’s second-tier cities. This long-term partnership between Amsa Hospitality and Accor will bring first-rate modern hospitality together with Amsa Hospitality’s commitment to bringing centuries-old Arabian traditions to today’s world.”

Duncan O’Rourke, CEO, MEA and Asia Pacific for the Premium, Midscale and Economy Division at Accor, added, “Our strategic partnership with Amsa Hospitality marks a significant milestone in our development strategy for Saudi Arabia, a burgeoning hospitality sector which offers a host of opportunities to leverage our portfolio of hospitality brands.”

The Middle East is a key market for Accor. Accor’s Fairmont Hotels and Resorts brand recently relocated its global headquarters from Paris to Dubai. With nearly 40 percent of its current development projects located in IMEAT (India, Middle East, Africa and Türkiye) region, Accor says that the relocation to Dubai allows Fairmont to take advantage of the opportunities within the region.

Figures released by Accor for all its brands in the IMEAT region showed that RevPAR there was 73 per cent higher in Q4 2022 compared to Q4 2019 which was the pre-pandemic period. Also, the RevPAR for the full-year 2022 for all of Accor’s brands in Saudi was 47 per cent higher than in 2019.