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RCU CEO advocates resilience and innovation in virtual hospitality conference
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 09 - 04 - 2020

The CEO of the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) Amr AlMadani joined fellow hospitality leaders this week to discuss the future of the industry in the Hospitality Tomorrow virtual forum, hosted by Bench Global Events and watched by a global audience of thousands.
The talk was co-hosted by Anita Mendiratta, special advisor to the Secretary General at the United Nations World Trade Organization and member of RCU's Advisory Board, under the title "Legacy, Sustaining Growth through Adversity."
RCU CEO AlMadani began by highlighting resilience and innovation as key to the industry's growth, emphasizing that travel in the future will be driven by a desire for deeper, transformative experiences founded in a strong sense of community.
As an example, AlMadani noted that AlUla had 250,000 years of history, amid an authentic Arabian landscape, with its own community creatively engaged in its tourism industry.
Expanding on the theme of growth, AlMadani emphasized that AlUla remained open to investment, and argued that the future growth of the wider industry is dependent on lowering barriers to investment to fuel innovation.
In this regard, he noted that RCU was taking an open-minded approach to current challenges but also that RCU was still signing contracts and remained committed to its partners.
AlMadani said: "I would like to thank Anita and the Hospitality Tomorrow community for convening via a virtual platform to share ideas with the industry's leading thinkers. In RCU, we are banking on a strong recovery for the industry, but one that will newly focus on offering people deeper, more experiential and transformative tourism options — rather than simply a photograph.
"In AlUla, we have 250,000 years of history for visitors to experience a true, unique locality of Arabian and world heritage, supported by creativity and innovation in our community, projects, and our partners. As I said during the discussion, we're confident this will be able to deliver sustainable growth whatever adversities face us for all our stakeholders."
Mendiratta said: "Legacy — the protection, preservation and promotion of the past into future, can provide a powerful source of inspiration, ideation and collaboration during times of challenge. It was a joy to discuss with Amr how we can sustain our industry's focus and growth not just through the current situation, but through any adversity.
"Having heard Amr emphasize the truism that hospitality of tomorrow will evolve to be about genuine connection to places and people of shared values, not just sought after photo ops, and knowing AlUla personally, I have no doubt that in our post-COVID19 world, the world's travelers will feel a strengthened desire to visit AlUla as a place of natural, cultural and spiritual pilgrimage, making it a crossroads of people of the world once more."
Attendees of the online forum were also able to visit the Royal Commission of AlUla's "virtual booth" to learn more about RCU's Framework Plan for the sustainable development of AlUla and the 12 strategic principles that guide the organisation's work. The Royal Commission for AlUla also sponsored the event. — SG

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