Brand: Hilton Hotels
Spokesperson: Essam Abouda, vice president of International Operations, Arabian Peninsula
Plans for 2007?
The Middle East is a very important region for Hilton; hotel occupancy rates are at an all time high of 70 per cent We are committed to remaining one of the leading international hotel brands across the Arabian Peninsula, and will continue to build on our 14 established properties.
Our exciting new regional developments include the Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Resort & Spa, Hilton’s first ‘Worldwide Resort’ in the emirate, which sees its first phase of 151 deluxe villas [set to open December 2006, at the time of going to press] and its final phase of 330 rooms opening in 2008.
Hilton is also marking its presence in Qatar for the first time with the Hilton Doha, opening with 324 rooms in December 2007.
In Dubai, the Hilton Jumeirah Beach Club will open in June 2007 with 40 day-use cabanas and the Conrad Dubai, the Gulf’s first Conrad will open in December 2008 with 350 rooms.
We have also just signed the 371-room Hilton Jumeirah Beach Residence, Hilton’s first residential venture in Dubai, which opens in September 2007, and the Hilton Olympia Kuwait, which forms part of a development to house the Olympic Council of Asia headquarters, due to open in the second half of 2008 with 200 guest rooms and 70 apartments.
Our exciting new ventures demonstrate our commitment to addressing gaps in the market. Internationally, we can expect the development of more than 50 new international hotels – our current pipeline of 700 hotels stands as our largest ever. International development will comprise an increasingly bigger percentage of the pipeline number.
New source markets?
We have identified a number of key regional markets, as part of our global development strategy, based on where we have a strong foothold and greatest growth potential.
The Middle East population of 35 million is set to almost treble to 90 million by 2030, with a GDP forecast growth of 5.1 per cent versus a global average of 3.3 per cent. With such strong figures, the Middle East is a key region for us.
We have focused our sights on markets like the UAE and Qatar. Experts are calling the UAE the fourth most visited region in the world, with a predicted rise in GDP from 12-20 per cent by 2015 –
triple that of the WTO growth rate. Qatar also has the second fastest growing GDP worldwide behind China, and is expecting four million tourists by 2010, with 7,500 rooms available next year. With our aforementioned developments in Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah and Dubai, we expect considerable growth in the coming year and added value to the Hilton brand. New for guests Hilton guests in the Middle East can look forward to enjoying even more options and services as a result of the strength of the unified company. The Hilton Family of Brands paves the way for new openings that align with the high demand for hotels, for example the market need for budget hotels. We can now look to fill this gap in the market by introducing mid-market brands such as Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn and Doubletree that will see its visitors are provided with affordable accommodation, while simultaneously carrying the quality assurance that is associated with the Hilton name. Our upscale properties will also cater to the rising demand in luxury accommodation. Qasr Al Sharq, Hilton’s first palace property in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, has greatly contributed to the Kingdom’s growing tourism infrastructure since its opening in June 2006.