Rotana expands in Middle East

The Grand Lobby at the Beach Rotana Hotel is part of the renovation programme.

Leading Middle East-based hotels group, Rotana Hotels, Suites & Resorts will be showcasing its growing spread across the region at the Arabian Travel Market.

With five new hotels, constituting 40 per cent growth, successfully opened in six months, Rotana now manages 17 properties throughout the Middle East and more hotel projects are in the final stages of negotiation and development including properties in Cairo, Damascus, Doha, Kuwait, Jeddah and Jumeirah beach in Dubai.

"Our ultimate goal is to have a Rotana managed property in all of the major Middle Eastern cities and that will be achieved within the next few years," says Selim El Zyr, president and CEO.

The group recently relinquished the management contract for Abu Dhabi Grand as part of its effort to refocus and consolidate its energies on its flagship, Beach Rotana

Hotel and the opening of its new luxurious Al Maha Rotana Suites in the UAE capital.

On completion of its ongoing Dh500 million ($132 million) programme, Rotana will have 30 per cent of the total five-star rooms available in Abu Dhabi.

The Beach Rotana Hotel is under going a Dh250 million expansion which involves 190 new sea facing rooms, together with five new executive floors and three Presidential Suites.

The work, being carried out as part of the Abu Dhabi Trade Center, will also see the addition of a new 1,400 sq m Grand Ballroom with capacity for 2,000 guests, an extremely elegant marble pre-function area and 7 new meeting rooms.

The Dh120 million Al Maha Suites will be ready for occupation later this year with 290 well appointed suites and serviced apartments, meeting rooms and restaurants.

The group also says it operates 20 per cent of five-star rooms in Dubai, making it the largest group in the UAE.

It is currently finalising a new sales structure to enable Rotana to have first class coverage of the markets it operates in.

The group has lined up a "highly visible" presence at the ATM with a "striking and effective" exhibition to underscore its growing strength in Middle East.

"Over the years, the ATM has proven to be an excellent forum to meet existing and potential new partners. Being the largest show in the region, no hotel chain could afford not to be present," said Rotana corporate communications manager Dianna Martin.

"We are confident to meet new client and to strengthen our relationship with existing ones.

"Rotana has been a supporter of the ATM from the first year. The business impact is greater in terms of Public Relations and awareness rather than signing actual deals during the show."

Martin called on regional governments to launch a sustained and concerted drive to increase the flow of leisure visitors to the region.

"The Middle East is currently only having 3 per cent of the global tourism market although it could and should sustain 11 per cent of the world tourism market," she said.

"But the continued political climate and instability has not helped in achieving greater tourism figures. Once the situation is resolved the natural beauty and diversity and rich cultural heritage of the Middle East will certainly make it into one of the world's desirable tourist destinations."

She said the region also still has immense potential for international hotel and tourism development agencies, which will also help to grow the area as a desirable tourism destination

But she added that while efforts are made to attract visitors from various parts of the world, travel within the region is restricted in many cases.

Referring to the ATM, Martin said it was important for organisers to keep in mind that the show has to be cost effective to the participants.

"To ensure long-term success, the interests of both the visitor and the exhibitor should be catered for. It should be worthwhile for both parties to attend the exhibition and to rationalise the expenditure around the exhibition to ensure the continued success," she said.

"Both the inbound and outbound interest should be catered for with a balance between the exhibitors and the trade visitors. It is imperative to have their focus equally divided in order not.