Accor committed to major ME expansion

Novotel Dubai ... business with pleasure

Accor confirmed that it is on track to become the most significant hotel group in the Middle East. And the company disclosed that it expects to more than double the number of hotels under its management in the region within the next three years alone.

Accor, owners of a unique portfolio of brands ranging from the upper-upscale Sofitel and upper mid-scale Novotel chains to the high value economy Ibis and Formule 1 offerings, is expected to announce a number of new management contracts and construction start-ups for hotels in the Gulf region during the first half of this year.
The company will be participating in the ATM where its exhibition stand will focus on its current network and future expansion in the Middle East. “Accor’s long-term strategy is to have a Sofitel and Novotel in every major city in the Middle East,” said Christophe Landais, managing director, Middle East.
“But we have now moved from intention to commitment with construction under way of major new projects in Saudi Arabia and Syria, the opening of a Mercure hotel in Jeddah in February and another scheduled to open in Makkah later this year. A Novotel is under construction in Riyadh while a Sofitel is being built in Al Khobar.
“We will be signing further important agreements shortly for further Sofitels and hotels under other Accor brands elsewhere in the Gulf by mid-2005. In addition, we are set for a significant expansion of the Ibis network across the region. We continue to seek further opportunities and we expect our presence to expand rapidly over the next decade. We plan to increase our regional base to 35 hotels and more than 5,000 rooms over the next three years alone.”
Currently Accor operates 17 hotels in the Near and Middle East. They include four Sofitels, three Novotels, and several Mercure hotels together offering more than 3,500 rooms. In addition, Accor recently won the international bid for the hotel management contract for what will become the world’s largest Sofitel, now under construction in Makkah at a total cost of about $600 million. The Zam Zam Sofitel Grand Suites will provide 1250 luxury suites – many of them on a time-share basis – and is scheduled to open in September 2006. A Sofitel with 231 rooms is also presently being built in Syria.
Landais added: “We are confident that the business and travel market in the region will continue to grow rapidly and that we shall achieve our target of being perhaps the leading player in hotels in the region within the next decade.”