Skift Breaking News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Tourism

Saudi Sovereign Wealth Fund to Pick 30 Percent Stake in Almosafer

1 week ago

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund has proposed to acquire a 30 percent stake in Riyadh-based travel firm Almosafer — a subsidiary of Seera Group — for $412 million.

As part of the pact, Seera’s destination management company — Discover Saudi and its Hajj and Umrah travel operator — Mawasim will fall under Almosafer.

The Seera Group, in a statement to the Saudi Stock Exchange where it is listed, stated that the capital infusion would be used to scale its inbound, outbound, religious and domestic tourism operations.

The company said this would help to strengthen its credentials as a “national champion of travel and tourism services in Saudi Arabia.”

Almosafer recorded the best quarter in its history for consumer travel bookings for the quarter ending June 30, 2022 exceeding pre-pandemic levels in June 2019 by 27 percent.

The travel company reported a 89 percent growth in gross booking value to $346 million in the second quarter, up from $240 million in the second quarter of 2021. Almosafer’s consumer travel unit achieved its highest ever quarterly gross booking value registering an increase of 175 percent compared to the same period last year.

The company had mentioned in its earnings that Almosafer’s consumer travel segment is on track to achieve $1 billion gross booking value by the end of 2022. 

The Public Investment Fund plays a pivotal role in realizing Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia’s economic transformation program, as it strategises to diversify the national economy and reduce the reliance on oil.

As it seeks to diversify is portfolio, the Public Investment Fund, which manages around $620 billion in assets, had earlier invested $464 million in Google’s parent company Alphabet, around $474 million in Microsoft, $507 million in Zoom and $373 million in Booking Holdings.

Last month, the sovereign wealth fund along with the London-based Cain International announced an investment of $900 million in the Swiss hospitality brand — Aman Group.

Hotels

Aman Hotels Now Valued at $3 Billion After $900 Million Fresh Investment

1 month ago

Aman Group has received a $900 million investment from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and Cain International, the London-based privately-held real estate investment firm.

The transaction now values the Swiss hospitality brand at $3 billion, said Cain in a press statement.

The investment will be used to enhance the existing portfolio, drive the construction pipeline of new Aman and Janu-branded properties, and support the acquisition and development of additional sites, a release from Cain stated.

Calling the investment in line with Public Investment Fund’s strategy to invest in promising sectors to achieve sustainable, attractive returns in Saudi Arabia and globally, Turqi Alnowaiser, deputy governor and head of international investments division, said in a tweet, “Our investment in Aman Group reflects our belief in the current potential of the hospitality and tourism industry, both internationally and in Saudi Arabia.”

Aman Group has 34 hotels in 20 countries, including 12 branded residences, and another nine properties under development, including in Saudi Arabia and the United States.

Earlier this month, Aman opened its New York hotel and private residences in Manhattan, touted to be the most expensive hotel in the city, according to Bloomberg. The hospitality brand is set to expand further in the U.S. with Aman Miami Beach set to open in 2024, followed by Aman Beverly Hills in 2026.

As the hospitality landscape continues to evolve, Cain expects to see a growing desire for travellers and investors alike to prioritize experiences supported by preeminent brands like Aman, said Jonathan Goldstein, CEO and co-founder of Cain International.

“This investment represents a unique opportunity to further enhance this portfolio of unrivalled destinations,” Goldstein said.

In June, Cain announced Aman as the flagship operator of One Beverly Hills, the 17.5-acre mixed-use urban resort it is developing in Beverly Hills.

“My long-term strategic vision has been to continue to grow the Aman brand in key markets, all with Aman Branded Residences, as well as creating an ultra-luxury ecosystem which offers the complete Aman lifestyle,” said Vlad Doronin, owner, chairman and CEO of Aman Group.

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