Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide is strengthening its position as the leading hotel operator in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region with an existing portfolio with a pipeline of 40 new hotels.
This growth, primarily in the luxury and upper-upscale segments, represents an increase of nearly 60 per cent over the next five years.
In the past 18 months, Starwood has debuted six new hotels throughout Mena and momentum continues in the region where the company has recently inked deals for 10 additional hotels.
"Despite economic and political uncertainty in parts of the region, Starwood continues to see demand for growth of all of our brands across the Middle East and North Africa," said Frits van Paasschen, President and CEO, Starwood Hotels & Resorts.
"Mena is key to Starwood's global expansion strategy, representing our second largest growth market after China. When you consider that the region has 35 metropolitan areas with a population of over one million, and many with a wealthy middle class, there's huge long-term potential for internationally-branded luxury and upper-upscale hotels."
With the openings of six new hotels under five of the company's unique and compelling lifestyle brands, Starwood has marked a number of key milestones in Mena over the past 18 months, including:
• The launch of its ultra-luxury St. Regis brand in the region with the opening of The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort in Abu Dhabi. This was followed by the recent opening of The St. Regis Doha, marking the brand's debut in Qatar. Later this year, Starwood will open yet another luxurious St. Regis hotel on Abu Dhabi's vibrant Corniche, making it the only city in the world to boast two St. Regis hotels.
• The first Westin hotel in Abu Dhabi with The Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa.
• The debut of Le Méridien in Algeria with the new Le Méridien Oran, designed by Rockwell Group Europe.
Starwood continues its rapid growth in 2012 with further expansion in key markets, including Saudi Arabia where the company will debut two hotels later this year: the Sheraton Medina and Four Points by Sheraton Medina. Both hotels combined will add nearly 500 rooms to the Holy City and increase Starwood's portfolio to 12 hotels in the country.
"Thanks to Starwood's long history in the region, which dates back to the opening of Sheraton Kuwait Hotel & Towers in 1966, the company is well positioned to take full advantage of growth," said Roeland Vos, President of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Europe, Africa & Middle East.
"Mena continues to evolve as an international business and leisure travel hub. With the number of tourists traveling to the region expected to double from nearly 80 million last year to 195 million by 2030, Mena is one of the most attractive growth markets in the world."
With more than 70 per cent of the world's economic growth coming from fast-growing markets over the next few years, Starwood is focused on expansion in developing markets such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Algeria as well as key emerging markets including Iraq, Tajikistan and Pakistan.
As part of this strategy, Starwood has recently confirmed 10 hotel projects in the region:
• Four new hotels in Dubai, including three hotels on Sheik Zayed Road under the company's St. Regis, W Hotels and Westin brands and a second W Hotel in Dubai on The Palm Jumeirah. Together, these four properties will add nearly 1,900 rooms to Dubai by 2017. This further solidifies Starwood's position as the leading hotel operator in Dubai, where the company currently has 15 hotels under five of its brands, representing the largest concentration of Starwood hotels in a single city outside of New York.
• The launch of the Aloft brand in the emirate of Sharjah, where the company will open a 270-room Aloft hotel in 2015, following the successful debut of Aloft Abu Dhabi in 2009. Starwood will mark its official debut in Sharjah next year with the opening of a Sheraton and a Four Points by Sheraton hotel.
• The entry of Starwood into Tajikistan with the opening of a new Sheraton hotel in the country's capital city of Dushanbe.
• The re-entry of Starwood into Iraq with the milestone signing of a new Sheraton hotel in Erbil. The 260-room Sheraton Erbil marks Starwood's return to the country after 20 years and will be complemented by the recently signed 250-room Four Points by Sheraton Erbil which is due to open in 2015.
• Starwood's fifth hotel in Algeria with the new Sheraton Annaba Hotel, where the company currently operates three hotels. Starwood will open a Four Points by Sheraton in Oran in 2014, introducing the brand to the country.
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