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Fairmont Targets Expansion in Middle East

Fairmont Raffles Hotel International is planning to open up to eight new hotels in the Middle East over the coming five years, the firm said today.

Speaking at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) event in Dubai, COO Michael Glennie said the hotelier was targeting major regional markets including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE and Qatar.

Glennie said that Fairmont’s plans in the Middle East were an integral part of the firm’s aim to reach 50 hotels worldwide across its three major brands: Raffles, Fairmont and Swissôtel.

“The region is incredibly important, for all three of our brands. We are doing our market analysis now, but I would probably say about seven or eight new hotels will be launched across the region,” he said.

“Saudi is huge for us, Jordan is big, we have a presence in Egypt we could add to, we like [Lebanese capital] Beirut, and obviously Qatar is going to be huge. All the areas which have inbound tourism we will be looking at.”

Glennie added that at least two or three of the new properties would be in the UAE.

At the ATM conference, Glennie also claimed that the company’s much delayed Fairmont Palm Jumeirah hotel would open in September 2012.

The 380-room property was originally scheduled to open in 2010, but has faced delays as Kuwaiti backers IFA Hotels & Resorts struggled to secure funding, as Arabian Business stated.

He also confirmed that the 1562-room Swissôtel in the Saudi holy city of Makkah, part of the Abraj Al Bait complex near the Masjid Al Haram, is due to open in summer this year.

Fairmont Raffles Hotel International, based in Toronto, is part-owned by Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, whose Kingdom Holding firm has a 35 percent stake in the business, while Qatar Investment Authority holds a 40 percent stake.

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