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Room to Grow
It is ambitious plans all round at this year’s Arabian Travel Market
May 2, 2011 3:26 by Eva Fernandes
Here’s a quick round-up of some of the more ambitious announcements made at the on-going Arabian Travel Market:
Hilton to expand by 80 percent: According to Rudi Jagersbacher, Hilton Worldwide’s President for the Middle East and Africa, the hotel chain is aiming to expand its presence in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) by 80 per cent by 2012. Currently, Hilton has 3,600 hotels in its global portfolio out of which 50 are in this region. At this week’s Arabian Travel Market, Jagersbacher told Gulf News: “We had an estimated growth recorded. Our pipeline will allow us to grow by up to 80 per cent in the Middle East and Africa region to 2012 (…) We would have 80 hotels in the region within a period of two years and with that there would be fairly unlimited growth going forward.”
Rotana’s ambitious expansion plans: Rotana’s chief said the company is investing more than Dh2.93 billion on its expansion plan. “The vision was always to have a hotel in every major Middle Eastern city — we’re very close to that. By 2014, we should be there” said Rotana’s chief operating officer Omer Kaddouri. Rotana will open six new hotels in the UAE this year including a Centro near Sharjah airport, a Centro on Abu Dhabi Airport Road and a Rayhaan and Arjaan complex in Deira. Rotana hotels in Lebanon, Jordan and Libya are under construction.
Jumeirah to sign up 60 hotels: Kipp has already reported on the rather ambitious plans of hotel management group Jumeirah before so we aren’t too surprised with the words of Gerald Lawless, executive chairman of the Jumeirah Group: “Under development and/or in operation by the end of 2012 would be 60 hotels in Jumeirah Group’s portfolio. Already, we should achieve that. We have 42 management agreements signed.” It remains to be seen whether Jumeriah will reach its target, but for now the group has less than nine hotels in the pipeline that it aims to open in 2011.
Biltmore to open Abu Dhabi: The Millennium and Corpthorne hotel chain announced it was to bring the first Biltmore hotel to Abu Dhabi (the first outside of Los Angeles.) The hotel is planned to be built in the Al Bateen area of Abu Dhabi and is scheduled to open in 2013. “Bringing the first Biltmore hotel outside of Los Angeles to Abu Dhabi is a coup,” said Ali Lakhraim, the president and chief executive officer of Millennium & Copthorne Hotels and Resorts.