Qatar National Hotels Company has rebranded as Katara Hospitality from April 30 onwards, ahead of the company’s ambitious international expansion plans.
The new corporate identity will be unveiled at Arabian Travel Market in Dubai by HE Sheikh Nawaf bin Jassim bin Jabor Al-Thani, chairman, Katara Hospitality.
Ahead of the travel trade show, Al Thani told Hotelier Middle East: Over the last four decades we have been at the forefront of the development of Qatar’s hospitality industry at both domestic and international levels. As we embark on a new wave of strategic expansion, we seized the opportunity to redefine the brand and set the scene for future growth of not only our rapidly expanding portfolio, but of Qatar’s reputation as a key player in the global tourism market”.
The word ‘Catara’ dates back to 150 AD and was originally used by the ancient Greeks to refer to the area known as the Qatar Peninsula, before European cartographers began using the spelling ‘Katara’ on historical maps dating from the first half of the 18th century.
Al Thani explained: “The decision to revive the name Katara reflects our rich cultural heritage and honours the country’s ancient roots, while being symbolic for our recognition beyond the regional borders since ancient times. This cultural wealth is the foundation for our national vision, and is the basis on which the Government of Qatar and Katara Hospitality are developing a sustainable tourism offering for future generations to come”.
The launch of its new corporate identity has the twin goals of raising brand awareness in key targeted international markets as well as developing long-term business-to- business partnerships with leading global hospitality and tourism players.
Katara Hospitality chief executive officer Hamad Abdulla Al Mulla said the company currently had 24 hotels comprising more than 4000 hotel rooms operational or under development in eight international destinations.
“We are looking to increase that to 30 properties by 2016 and double that figure by 2030 to 60 hotels and resorts around the world,” Al Mulla said.
In Qatar, new openings include the Merwebhotel City Centre Doha — owned and operated by Katara Hospitality under the Merwebhotel brand — and the Lusail Marina hotel, which will be designed to reflect the cultural roots of the brand.
“Our focus is on strategic investments and acquiring a collection of international properties that are true hospitality icons in the grandest sense; having said that we are also building new icons of hospitality that incorporate the latest technology and offer a contemporary alternative, but with the same warm, genuine service that defines the new Katara Hospitality brand,” said Al Mulla.
Overseas, Katara Hospitality plans to open three new European properties in 2013: the Royal Savoy Lausanne; the Gallia Hotel Milan; The Peninsula Hotel Paris, as well as a second Parisian location with a five-star hotel.
In 2014, it will open the Bürgenstock Resort Lake Lucerne in Switzerland, Tazi Palace in Tangier, Morroco — currently undergoing a multi-million dollar refurbishment — and a new-build project, the Comoros Beach Resort located in the Union of Comoros.