40 new properties by 2009

Radisson SAS Tala Bay Resort in Aqaba

Brand: The Rezidor Hotel Group
Spokesperson: Craig Senior, regional director of sales and marketing

Plans for 2007?
In the Middle East we have currently a total of 15 hotels and resorts in operation, over the next five years this wl increase to 28. The new openings will see the continued expansion of Radisson SAS properties within the region, and will also see the debut of our additional brands Park Inn, Missoni and The Regent. Our expansion plans cover the UAE (Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah), Saudi Arabia, Oman and Kuwait and in 2007 we will open hotels in Aqaba Jordan and a residence in Bahrain as part of the existing property The Diplomat Radisson SAS hotel, Bahrain. 
In total, the group has unveiled plans to open approximately 40 new hotels in Europe, the Middle East and Africa by the end of 2009. New openings over the medium term include the properties in Turkey, Belgium, Croatia, France, Sweden, Switzerland, Norway, Romania, Russia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Poland and Spain. African openings include properties in Lagos, Nigeria and Dakar, Senegal.

Strategy in the face of competition?
Competition is healthy and keeps everybody in the company focused on the important issues to hand, our core values of Radisson SAS remains to provide a 100 per cent guest satisfaction guarantee by combining service concepts with our ‘Yes I Can’ spirit and service culture to all guests. 

Bullish about 2007?
2007 is looking strong with solid advance group reservations already on the books in destinations like the UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia. The resort destinations will remain predominantly late booking gateways from their feeder markets, but our European partners are confident 2007 will be a strong year in general for them.

New source markets?
Our source markets remain the business individual traveller and groups from within the GCC, however we are seeing an increase in the MICE traffic particular for our hotels in the UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

New for guests
In terms of the Rezidor Hotel Group, we open our second tower at the Radisson SAS Hotel, Dubai Media City in January, bringing an additional 120 rooms and suites to the existing property plus new and exciting food and beverage concepts, the first tower opened in January 2006, we recently took over the Intercontinental hotel in Dubai and rebranded this to Radisson SAS, Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek, this provides now a property in the old and new parts of Dubai.

How has political unrest affected your group and will it impact business in 2007?
Naturally the situation in Lebanon in 2006 has created a very difficult and demanding market there, signs of recovery have started and we see revenues and occupancies on the increase here, in general if stability remains throughout the region we are very hopeful that 2007 will be a good year.