On Tuesday, September 13th, the main stage of the Future of Living at Cityscape witnessed a remarkable gathering of three influential CEOs, each representing substantial investments and ongoing projects in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Dr. Fahad bin Mushayt, CEO of the Saudi Tourism Investment Company (ASFAR, a subsidiary of PIF), Jerry Inzerillo, CEO of the Diriyah Gate Development Authority, and David Grover, CEO of ROSHN, shared their insights into the challenges and opportunities surrounding Saudi Arabia's ambitious Vision 2030 plan.
Inzerillo, the driving force behind the $63 billion Diriyah mega-project, emphasized the shift from conceptualization to tangible progress. He declared, "What will happen - and it started in 2022 - is we will open assets, break ground on new assets, and announce new assets with anticipation of substantial completion and have it in time for the World Expo 2030." This transformation from theory to practice is a testament to the commitment of these visionary leaders.
Despite initial skepticism from the global community, all three CEOs affirmed their determination to turn Saudi Arabia's ambitious projects into reality. Grover of ROSHN pointed out the complexity of managing development in ten different cities simultaneously, underlining the importance of respecting architectural diversity and integrating with existing cultures. He also noted the industry's significant advancements in design and building concepts compared to just a few years ago.
The CEOs emphasized the pivotal role of tourism in Saudi Arabia's economic diversification, aiming to attract 100 million visitors by 2023. The CEO of Saudi Tourism Investment Company announced forthcoming projects and welcomed international partners to participate in this transformative journey.
Inzerillo highlighted Diriyah's commitment to preserving heritage while fostering local talent and modernity, with 85 million mud bricks being used in the development. He also emphasized their dedication to nurturing young Saudi men and women, providing them with opportunities for personal and professional growth.
Cityscape Global discussions have revolved around Saudi Arabia's youthful population and opportunities for Saudi women. ROSHN's Grover highlighted the diversity of their workforce, comprising 60 nationalities, and their active graduate program for women, which attracted a significant number of applicants.
Public-private partnerships (PPPs) have come to the forefront as Saudi Arabia encourages international players to participate in various sectors, including real estate, tourism, leisure, sports, tech, sustainability, and education. The audience at the Property Portfolio Forum was informed that PPPs are the preferred route, especially in the hospitality and leisure sector, aligning with Saudi's Vision 2030 goals.
Shafiq Akbar, CEO of IMARAT, Graana.com & Agency 21, emphasized the need for private sector investments to complement the Public Investment Fund's support. He commended Saudi Arabia for attracting top players in the market.
Notably, international firms are establishing offices in Riyadh to seize emerging opportunities. UK-based API Global, a property investment and residential specialist, is among them, with its CEO, Michael Leighton, expressing great optimism about the potential in Saudi Arabia.
Cityscape Global also dedicated a significant portion to technology, showcasing innovations in a dedicated tech zone. The winner of the Cityscape Global Innovation Challenge, Carbon Limit, a climate tech company specializing in CO2 capture, was announced, reinforcing the event's commitment to sustainability.
In conclusion, Cityscape Global continues to serve as a catalyst for innovation and growth in the real estate sector, bringing together industry professionals, investors, and thought leaders to shape the future of urban landscapes. For more information and registration, please visit www.cityscapeglobal.com.