India’s Taj hotel group in 'talks to open high-end resorts’ in Jeddah and Muscat
The hospitality group currently has one hotel property in Dubai, with two upcoming properties in the city. In addition to that, the group has an upcoming property in Saudi’s Makkah.
Taj Hotels, India’s chain of luxury hotels stepped into the Middle East market when they launched their property in Dubai in 2015. Now, the group is planning to set foot in Bahrain and Oman while expanding its presence in Saudi Arabia.
At the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC), Suma Venkatesh, executive VP Indian Hotels Company told Hotelier Middle East that the company wants to "have a presence in all key cities in the Middle East”.
According to Venkatesh, the group is keen on opening new properties in Bahrain and Jeddah. She said, “As we speak right now, we are discussing opportunities in Bahrain and Jeddah. We would like to expand into Oman too, especially Muscat. Eventually we want to expand in the North African regions too."
While she did not reveal the details of the projects in Muscat and Jeddah, she said, “We’re evaluating options and we haven’t yet signed anything, so we can’t speak about it. But we’re looking at creating high-end resorts in both these places.”
The Middle East market is currently going through a difficult time, with oversupply being a big issue that hotels face, and Venkatesh says that the group understands the challenges.
She said, “We are late entrants in the [Middle East hotel] market. The Global economic scene is seeing a bit of a slowdown so the market is not as buoyant as we would’ve expected it to be. So entering a market when it is softened is a big challenge. However, a lot of consolidation is happening, big hotel groups are getting bigger. At the other end there is this whole market for specialised brands and we have a big opportunity to play in that end of the market and not just be another brand.”