Mandarin Oriental expansion targets Marrakech

Mandarin Oriental has earmarked Marrakech as one of several key destinations for expansion

The Mandarin Oriental Jnan Rahma, which is expected to open later in 2009 comprising 145 rooms, including 45 branded residences, is one of 18 new developments the company plans to open over the next few years, with several already close to completion.

Additional destinations for future Mandarin Oriental properties include Hainan Island and Beijing in China; Boston; Barcelona; Las Vegas; Macau; Paris; and Milan.

Vice president of sales and marketing for Europe, Middle East and Africa Diana Banks said the Gulf was a key source market for the company, but stopped short of flagging any Mandarin developments in the region.

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"We are always looking at opportunities, but we have nothing to announce here," she said.

"We don’t make announcements until our partners are all chosen, the ink is dry and finance is in place. A lot of people do make announcements prematurely, but not Mandarin."

However, Banks said the company would be more active in promoting its properties to the Middle East, a market she said was still showing strength, despite the global slowdown.

"What we have noticed is that there doesn’t seem to be a retraction of the Middle East [outbound] market," she said.

"We’re not out there to be brave and uncover new markets and spread ourselves thin; we understand a need to wrap our arms around our customers, to maintain our share and gain market share from areas like the Middle East.

"This region will see more from us this year."

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