Rotana to be first hotel group to re-enter Iran

UAE's Rotana to be first foreign hotel firm in Iran since 1979

Rotana executive vice president and chief executive Omer Kaddouri.
Rotana executive vice president and chief executive Omer Kaddouri.

Rotana expects to be the first international chain to set up shop in Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution terminated all foreign hotel contracts, reports The National.

The company has hotel projects in Tehran and in the pilgrimage city of Mashhad, which are expected to be completed from 2015 onwards.

Rotana executive vice president and chief executive Omer Kaddouri reportedly said: “Iran has a lot to offer commercially and culturally; trade has been phenomenal there. Mashhad is a popular religious place, and there aren’t enough quality hotels.”

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The prospective easing of international sanctions against Iran has made the country’s market more attractive to hospitality groups such as Rotana.

“We are hoping the recent developments will bring prosperity to the region. If we open three or four hotels in Iran, and the Iranian developers and businessmen can see what we can do, then … there’s loads of opportunities,” added Kaddouri.

Internationally, Rotana has 50 properties under development, which would add 13,600 rooms by 2018. Currently, Rotana has 17 hotels outside the UAE, mainly in Egypt and Lebanon.

The UAE-based hotel group also expects to enter Afghanistan next year, as well as Turkey and Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania. It is also planning to open two hotels in Kabul in the next couple of years, and seven new Rotana properties in Turkey.

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