French group Accor, Europe’s largest hotelier, plans to open nine hotels in the Middle East this year as part of a rapid expansion in the region.
After opening only one hotel in the Middle East in 2011, Accor plans to open a total of 23 hotels within the next three years in the region as occupancies rise in the group’s key markets. Christophe Landais, Managing Director of Accor ME, said occupancies in Saudi Arabia and the UAE rose 18% and 17%, respectively, in 2011 as hotels in these countries achieved ‘tremendous’ performance in Q4.
Currently, the group’s regional portfolio comprises 56 hotels representing 12,357 rooms in ten countries. The group’s hotel brands include Sofitel, Novotel, Mercure, ibis, Pullman and Adagio. Twelve of the new hotels to open by 2015 will be located in the UAE, four in Saudi Arabia, three in Syria, two in Qatar, one in Egypt and one in Bahrain.
“We have experienced positive growth in the region’s tourism and hospitality industry in 2011,” Landais said. “With 2012 upon us, we plan to leverage the breadth of the Accor brands to support the growth in the tourism sector. We are keen to offer tourists and business travelers alike a wider choice of hotels to stay in when they visit this region.”
In the UAE, Accor aims to operate seven new hotels this year – currently it manages 15 properties. Among the new properties slated to open in 2012 is the 354-room Pullman Dubai Jumeirah Lake, which follows the launch of Accor’s first upscale hotel in the region, Pullman Dubai Mall of the Emirates in September 2010.
In Saudi Arabia, Accor is expanding its ibis network with the first ibis hotel in Riyadh and the first ibis in Yanbu, both opening this year. Currently Accor manages 11 hotels in the Kingdom and four more will follow in the next two years.
“Focusing on our core strength, we plan to open a total of nine new hotels representing 2,630 rooms in 2012 that will reflect our full range of internationally branded hotels from our leading economy hotel ibis, and mid-market hotel brand Novotel, to our upscale hotel Pullman which will all make their mark in the Middle East hospitality industry,” he added.