Hilton doubling MENA portfolio by 2012

Hilton’s 44 hotels with another 16 under development; (inset) Herzog

Hilton Hotels Corporation (HHC) has earmarked the GCC as one of its top ten global development markets worldwide, in particular the UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

The international corporation opened more than over 32,000 rooms in 2007. This milestone underscores the company’s stated goal in 2007 to add 1,000 hotels to its international portfolio in 10 years. Currently the company boasts the industry’s largest global development pipeline for any US based hotel company, and the strongest in the company’s history – HHC has more than 900 hotels and 120,000 rooms in its development pipeline globally, a 16 per cent increase on the previous year. 
Ahead of the 2008 Arabian Hotel Investment Conference and Arabian Travel Market where Hilton representatives are speaking and participating, Jean-Paul Herzog, president, Hilton Hotels, Middle East & Africa said, “The GCC presents significant growth opportunities for the Hilton family of brands. We currently have an opening pipeline of 16 Conrad Hotels & Resorts and Hilton brand hotels in Middle East and Africa, with the goal of signing an additional 20 management agreements and doubling our portfolio by 2012.”
In addition to the key cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, development in locations such as Ras Al Khaimah, Riyadh and Bahrain is a focus of HHC’s development strategy.
HHC announced the signing of two management agreements in Africa recently, marking the company’s entry into Ghana and Cape Verde, an archipelago of 10 islands in the Atlantic Ocean off the west coast of Africa. The 186 room Hilton Accra Airport City and the 268 room Hilton Cape Verde are expected to open in 2010. These developments are testament of HHC’s ambition to have a Hilton Family hotel in every African capital city.
The next few years will see the Hilton corporation focus on bringing consumer choice to the industry forefront through the rollout of select Hilton family of brands.
Ivor McBurney, vice president, Hilton Hotels development Middle East said, “In addition to our core product offering of Hilton brand properties, our immediate expansion plans will drive the presence of our luxury brands, The Waldorf-Astoria Collection and Conrad. We are also identifying opportunities for Doubletree by Hilton, an upscale full service product and Hilton Garden Inn, a mid market brand – all affordable accommodation, while simultaneously carrying the quality assurance associated with the Hilton name.” 
“Our belief is that consumers should be able to choose between a multitude of brands, each offering a different product for a different market segment. Consumer choice is key to future growth,” continued McBurney.
HHC plans to launch each brand with a customised development and marketing strategy to ensure relevance in each market in terms of positioning, facilities and services. Contemporary luxury will be available in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, with the Conrad Abu Dhabi and Dubai expected to open in 2010, each with 500 rooms.
Plans for the Doubletree by Hilton brand entail single hotel projects, while the Hilton Garden Inn brand will be launched as multiple property relationships modeled on similar projects in India, China, Russia and the United Kingdom.
Openings in 2008 for Hilton include the spectacular Hilton Luxor Resort & Spa which opens in the winter. The 235 room resort set in Luxor will feature the city’s first world class spa. In the UAE, HHC’s first residential offering in Dubai, the 44 storey Hilton Jumeirah Beach Residence with 371 rooms and apartments, is set for a November 2008 opening. Meanwhile, with Qatar representing the second highest GDP growth after China, HHC will mark its entry into the country, with the 324-room Hilton Doha scheduled to open in January 2009.
At a glance, the Hilton hotel openings in Middle East and Africa:
• Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Beach Residence, UAE - November 2008
• Hilton Dubai Beach Club, UAE – first quarter 2009
• Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Resort & Spa, UAE-  (second phase  January 2009, third and final phase second quarter 2009)
• Conrad Abu Dhabi, UAE – second quarter 2010
• Conrad Dubai, UAE – third quarter 2010
• Hilton Mina Al Arab Resort, Ras Al Khaimah, UAE – December 2010
• Hilton Doha, Qatar – January 2009
• Hilton Olympia Kuwait – second quarter 2009
• Hilton Luxor Resort & Spa. Egypt - re-opening October 2008
• Hilton Beirut, Lebanon – opening date TBC
• Hilton Amman, Jordan Gate – second quarter 2009
• Hilton Tala Bay Aqaba, Jordan – second quarter 2010
• Hilton Malabo, Equatorial Guinea  – first quarter 2009
• Hilton Accra Airport City, Ghana – first quarter 2010
• Hilton Kampala, Uganda – opening date TBC
• Hilton Cape Verde, Sal Island, Cape Verde  – second quarter  2010
The company currently operates 44 hotels in the Middle East & Africa – 18 hotels in Egypt, nine hotels in the UAE, five in Saudi Arabia and one each in Oman and Kuwait, plus another ten hotels in Africa and the Indian Ocean.