Rendering of a Hilton and adjacent Canopy by Hilton set to open in 2026 in Abha, Saudi Arabia Latest HITs: Hilton goes big in KSA; Marriott comments about Maui; boost for AustraliaBy Jeffrey Weinstein | August 11, 2023Share The latest global news about development, M&A and data. Hilton busy in KSA. Hilton plans to open more than 50 new hotels across 10 markets in Saudi Arabia, making the country the company’s largest pipeline market in EMEA. The latest of these signings include entry into the Saudi capital with the 170-room Conrad Riyadh Laysen Valley in partnership Mashareq Investment and set to open in 2025. Hilton also signed hotels, one under the flagship Hilton Hotels & Resorts brand and another under the lifestyle Canopy by Hilton brand, due to open in 2026 in Abha at the ‘Abha Terraces’ project. Both properties were signed with Real Estate Development Fund Co., a fund made up of unitholders from SEDCO and the Tourism Development Fund and managed by Saudi Fransi Capital. The Hilton The Point Residences and Canopy by Hilton The Point will offer a combined 250 guest rooms, suites and residences. And expected to open in 2028, the Canopy by Hilton Porta Jeddah will feature 183 guest rooms and 55 residences. Hilton currently operates 16 hotels in Saudi Arabia.Marriott on Maui hotels. Marriott International offered a statement on Friday about the status of its hotels on Maui after wildfires ravaged the island. It stated, "Three of our hotels in West Maui’s impacted area are closing temporarily due to extended power outages. Guests at The Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Ka'anapali, Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa and The Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua have departed the hotels, as requested by Maui County officials. Our teams have focused on facilitating this evacuation, communicating with guests, and supporting our associates during this difficult time. We are grateful to local emergency responders, as well as government and industry partners, and we are mobilizing to support relief efforts... Cancellation fees at these three hotels are waived through August 31."Australia cleared for Chinese outbound tourism. China’s government announced group tours to Australia can resume, which should be a boost to Aussie hoteliers. China’s culture and tourism ministry also named Japan, South Korea, Britain and the U.S. as destinations that Chinese tourism agencies can run group tours to for the first time since outbound travel was halted due to the pandemic. Earlier this year, Thailand, Russia, Cuba and Argentina, as well as Nepal, France, Portugal, Brazil among others were given the green light for Chinese outbound tourists. Group tours accounted for 30% of the Chinese leisure travel market to Australia before the pandemic. In the first quarter of this year, Chinese tourism agencies recorded 318,600 outbound trips (just 1.58% of the overall tourism market), with Thailand, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore among the top destinations.Stocks rise in July. Led by global hotel brands benefitting from improved international business and increasing demand in major urban markets, the Baird/STR Hotel Stock Index grew 8.2% in July to a level of 6,074. In July, the Baird/STR Hotel Stock Index outperformed both the S&P 500 (+3.1%) and the MSCI US REIT Index (+2.7%). The Hotel Brand sub-index jumped 9.0% from June to 11,492, while the Hotel REIT sub-index grew 5.3% to 1,129.