ATM hot announcements
Hotelier Middle East Staff
May 1st, 2012
QNH to unveil expansion strategy
Qatar National Hotels Company (QNHC) is set to unveil its strategic expansion programme at ATM, along with a new identity.
“We have been at the forefront of Qatar’s development since its creation, and we are responsible for growing the country’s hospitality product,” remarked Sheikh Nawaf bin Jassim bin Jabor Al Thani, chairman of Katara Hospitality — the new name for QNHC.
According to Euromonitor International, inbound visitor numbers for Qatar are expected to reach 1.6 million by 2014, up from just under one million in 2009.
Katara Hospitality has already added to its portfolio in 2012 with the acquisition of two iconic Raffles properties in Singapore and Paris.
An investment agreement was also signed between Katara Hospitality and the Moroccan government in late 2011 for the multi-million redevelopment of Tangier’s historic Tazi Palace.
UNWTO to hold high profile session
Arabian Travel Market (ATM) and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) have revealed that Middle East Tourism Ministers will, for the first time, come together at ATM 2012 for a special session that will focus on driving forward the region’s tourism agenda.
Scheduled to take place on April 30, the first day of the show, the high-profile forum will pick up on feedback from regional tourism leaders, who highlighted increased co-operation and the expansion of tourism products as key drivers for future tourism growth.
“The ongoing changes in the MidEast and North Africa bring enormous opportunities,” said UNWTO secretary-general, Taleb Rifai.
“Rule of law and democracy will empower local communities, opening the door for these to be better engaged in the process of tourism development,” he continued.
According to Rifai, despite the setback in visitor arrival figures, UNWTO was forecasting the resumption of growth.
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Jumeirah to introduce new properties
HC3850 & UAE1110
Jumeirah has a large presence at this year’s show and will be promoting its latest properties and its Arts & Culture platform.
“We will want to introduce our most recent hotels and resorts in Frankfurt, the Maldives, Shanghai, Rome, and Abu Dhabi, as well as the second Jumeirah Living serviced residences, Grosvenor House Apartment in London; and we will prepare the market for the new hotels opening up in Mallorca, Istanbul, Baku and Kuwait,” the company told Hotelier.
“We will also promote our Arts & Culture platform; this initiative, which started in Jumeirah Essex House in New York with an in-house curator, has since taken a life of its own.”
Hyatt to focus on KSA and Malaysia
Hyatt Hotels Corporation will be using ATM as a platform for updating its key regional stakeholders on its development plans for major properties in Saudi Arabia and Malaysia — two critically-strategic markets for the US-headquartered hotelier, the company said.
In February of this year, Hyatt announced that it had opened a worldwide sales office in Saudi Arabia and had entered into agreements with Naseel Holding Company to manage three new Hyatt-branded hotels in KSA, bringing to six the number of Hyatt-branded hotels under development in Saudi Arabia across five of Hyatt’s brands.
“Hyatt’s progress in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Malaysia has been absolutely remarkable, and we are truly excited about what we will now be able to offer Gulf residents, particularly in both of these premium markets,” said Dubai-based Thierry Bertin, vice president of worldwide sales for Hyatt International - South West Asia.
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Mövenpick expects online growth
Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts is expecting greater participation of online and digital companies at ATM this year. The company will also be using the show to hammer out summer packages with various tour operators.
“Our stand will be a convenient scenario for travel agents to build new relationships and discuss business opportunities, as this year we will have over 25 hotels and resorts represented in our stand from our core markets: Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East,” Toufic Tamim, vice president sales & marketing – Middle East for Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, told Hotelier.
“We would expect this show to allow our hotels to capitalise on summer business and for the tour operators to negotiate summer packages for the intra-regional and outbound business,” he explained.
“Expectations this year are a growth in the online travel agencies participation and other digital solution providers, and we also expect a strong demand this summer for European destinations from the Middle East leisure travellers, mainly due to the favourable exchange rate of the Euro versus GCC currencies.”
Accor to focus on non-regional markets
Accor Middle East will continue targeting markets outside of the region at ATM, such as China and India, according to managing director, Christophe Landais.
“We have recorded a rise in visitors from South America, specifically Brazil. We are also seeing a higher number of visitors from Australia, as they stop over in Dubai before continuing to Europe,” he added.
Landais said 2012 had followed 2011, with strong demand and the UAE remaining a top destination.
“With the regional unrest, the UAE has been perceived as safe and conducive to both business and leisure guests,” he explained.
“We are expecting strong growth in both occupancy and average room rates. The main question is whether the new addition of hotels by the end of the year, particularly in Abu Dhabi, will manage to compensate the demand versus the openings of new hotels.”
Despite this, Landais said the inventory growth in Dubai and Abu Dhabi was “worrisome”.
“It may result again in a rate war among hotels,” he asserted, adding “it has started in Abu Dhabi... nevertheless, forecasts are optimistic.”
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GHM Hotels to detail ‘bold plans’
GHM, the company that manages exclusive properties anchored in Southeast Asia, is entering its third decade with plans for new boutique properties beyond its base. New properties will be in China, Switzerland, India and the UAE, effectively doubling its portfolio.
At ATM, the company will be on hand to discuss the developments in detail including its new Chinese brand Ahn Luh. Last year GHM inked a deal in the UAE — its first project The Chedi Khorfakkan in Sharjah.
FRHI Makkah boasts record occupancy
Fairmont Raffles Hotels International Makkah (FRHI) is sending a delegation of senior executives to represent the property and “offer an insight into the strategically important role their properties are playing in Saudi Arabia’s burgeoning religious tourism market”, the company said.
Khaled Yamak, group director of communications & business development, FRHI Makkah, said: “With our properties affording unrivalled views of, and access to, the Holy Ka’aba and the Masjid al-Haram — the holiest sites in Islam — our central Makkah location is ideal for pilgrims and Umrah performers visiting the city to fulfil their spiritual duties.
“In fact, our properties — offering 2,600 rooms and suites — make-up 40% of accommodation options in the central Makkah area. Furthermore, our average occupancies for our two operating hotels peaked at 90% in Q1 of 2012 — the highest to date since opening.”
The FHRI Makkah hotels represent three brands — Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel.
Citymax Hotels to unveil expansion
Citymax Hotels, the hospitality arm of the Landmark Group, is set to unveil its strategic expansion plans on the opening day of ATM 2012. A showcase of the properties’ amenities as well as stay packages for tourists will also be highlighted during the event.
The company will also host dedicated areas for conducting business meetings and food tasting sessions.
According to Citymax, its properties have enjoyed more than 92% occupancy over the winter.
Russel Sharpe, COO, Citymax Hotels, said: “Citymax’s value-for-money proposition has helped the brand register phenomenal growth”.