Hilton to launch Kuwait resort
Hilton International aims to successfully launch its newest property in the region, the Hilton Kuwait Resort, at this month's Arabian Travel Market.The resort which opens this summer, is part of the global hotel group's ambitious expansion drive in the region which aims to have a Hilton in every city in the Middle East over the next few years. "The ATM is an excellent opportunity for us to increase Hilton International brand awareness among both trade representatives and the general public," said Guy Epsom, regional sales and marketing director, Arabian Gulf. "As every year, the ATM kick-starts the summer season and helps us drive additional business into all our hotels during these months." "This year we believe we have some particularly good summer promotions: 'Great Summer Escapes' and 'Hilton for Free'." Epsom said the group had gained a phenomenal response from its participation at previous ATMs. "Our participation last year boosted awareness of Hilton's presence in the region and helped us successfully launch the new Jeddah Hilton hotel," said Epsom. "Our summer campaigns last year were also a great success, the 'Summer Sensations' promotion produced in excess of $4.7 million of business for the Arabian Peninsula, while 'Hilton for Free' achieved $3 million of outgoing business." Besides the Jeddah Hilton, the group also opened the Hilton Dubai Creek and Hilton Ras Al Khaimah in the region. "The latter two opened just after September 11 and all three hotels have done remarkably well in this period," said Epsom. He said the soon to open Kuwait business and leisure resort will have one of the longest private beaches in the country and offer residential villas, long-stay apartments and a conference centre in addition to 147 luxury hotel rooms and suites. Hilton is also continuously looking for new expansion possibilities in the region and view Saudi Arabia as a key growth area, he said. Epsom said ATM organisers should consider new focus areas to further boost the regional industry. "For example, with the new Dubai convention centre now in the final stages of completion we need to focus on the convention market, as this will help the growing number of city centre hotels to maintain and increase occupancy rates in the future," he said. Referring to regional market recovery, Epsom said it was remarkable that the UAE had managed to bounce back so quickly since September 11. "We saw occupancy rates return to normal levels already in December and during the Dubai Shopping Festival we had 95-100 per cent occupancy rates in our Dubai hotels," he said. "The only market that has been slow to pick up is the MICE market, but there are signs that market is now picking up speed." He praised the Dubai Department of Travel & Commerce Marketing, under Khaled bin Sulayem, for "an incredible job in the past few years to promote Dubai as a tourist destination". "They were particularly active in the period around September 11 and it is largely as a result of immense government support that the UAE leisure market has picked up so quickly," he said.