Rotana hoping to capture new European markets


Executive vice president and COO Rotana, Imad Elias, speaks to TTN

How important is WTM to you, and what can we expect to see at your stand?
Due to our strong presence in the Middle East and our established contacts in the UK, we are witnessing a constant increase of UK based customers. WTM is one of the major exhibitions we participate in and we are all focused on establishing solid contacts and signing major contracts, through our outbound sales office in the UK. Although this will be the third time we are having our own stand at WTM, the enquiries and the interest that have been shown so far from the UK operators are indeed very positive.

What do you hope to achieve at this year’s event, and what message would you like to put across to the visitors?
Our participation at WTM is to strengthen our presence and to support Rotana’s expansion plans reaching a portfolio of 65 properties by 2012. This will certainly be achieved through the meetings with the major operators within the UK markets. Our main aim is to showcase Rotana and its product offering to the visitors. Also, Rotana will be focusing on the four openings in 2008 in Dubai; the Arjaan Dubai Media City; Rose Rotana, the tallest hotel in the world, which will open early December; Amwaj Rotana and Media Rotana both opening in the middle of this month. This is in addition to the opening of The Cove Rotana Resort in Ras Al Khaimah, which will take place in January 2009.
Also, we will be promoting our other existing properties around the MENA region.
What new markets are you hoping to capture?
Strengthen the UK market and capture new European markets.
Please tell us about your latest news and developments.
Rotana’s strategic aim is to have a property located in every key city in the Middle East and this goal is being steadily achieved through careful long term planning and timely action. We have already signed the management contracts and some of these properties are now under construction or development. For the next four years, Rotana will open 10 hotels per year.
We have just signed a joint venture with Orascom and SHUAA to manage five Centro by Rotana properties in Egypt. Furthermore, we have signed a management agreement with Jiwar Real Estate Management & Marketing Company to manage our first property in Saudi Arabia, Al Marwa Rayhaan in Makkah, which will open in January 2009. Most recently, SHUAA Capital Saudi Arabia (SCSA), the Saudi Arabian subsidiary of SHUAA Capital, announced the signing of a master agreement with Rotana to develop 17 four and five star hotels and resorts in addition to hotel apartments across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia comprising 5,500 rooms.
We currently operate 23 properties which will be increased to 27 before the end of this year.
 We have signed management agreements for 30 properties, in addition to the five Centro Hotels by Rotana which will open in Egypt and the 17 properties in Saudi Arabia. This will total to 52 confirmed management agreement.
Will you be holding any press conferences at this year’s event? If so, please provide details.
We focus on the one to one interviews with the media rather than press conferences, which help achieve our goals and brand recognition.
See Rotana at stand number ME1800.