For the Rezidor Hotel Group, 2009 marked a record year as it opened 36 hotels globally bringing 7,100 rooms into the markets across Europe, Middle East and Africa.
With the move, Rezidor broke its 2008 record, when it opened 33 hotels with 6,500 rooms.
Of the last year's total openings, the Middle East alone accounted for eight new properties last year, including the launch of Rezidor's mid-market Park Inn Brand with openings in Muscat, Al Khobar and Abu Dhabi, according to Marko Hytonen, Rezidor Hotel Group's Area Vice-President for the Middle East.
In addition, the Radisson Blu brand was launched in new locations in the region, such as in Abu Dhabi, Alexandria, Cairo, Madinah and Tripoli, with the two new properties in Abu Dhabi being Rezidor's first in the capital.
When asked about the number of hotel properties in the pipeline in the UAE for 2010, Hytonen told Emirates Business: "The current Middle East pipeline has 15 properties with the development phase spread over a number of years. The current pipeline includes a further seven hotels in the UAE, four hotels in Saudi Arabia, two in Oman, one in Kuwait and one in Qatar."
He said: "As part of this development, we will launch our lifestyle brand Hotel Missoni in Kuwait and Oman and our upper scale luxury brand Regent in Abu Dhabi and Doha."
Meanwhile, the Rezidor Hotel Group reported 5.2 per cent growth for its Middle East properties last year, the Brussels-based hotel group's Chief Development Officer, Puneet Chatwal, recently told the paper. He said projected system-wide revenues for the Middle East and North Africa region in 2010 stand at $200 million (Dh734m).
"Highlights in 2009 also saw the launch of our dynamic mid-market brand Park Inn in the Middle East where we opened the Park Inn Al Khobar [Saudi Arabia] and the Park Inn Muscat [Oman]", Kurt Ritter, President and Chief Executive of Rezidor, said in a statement.
The group, however, did not divulge its financials for the final quarter of 2009, citing "silent period".
Furthermore, having created a total of 4,000 new jobs in its properties during the course of 2009, Rezidor noted an impressive 41 per cent cumulative growth in rooms in operation during 2007–2009 period.
"2009 has been a challenging year, but even in tough times Rezidor believes in growth," said Ritter.
The group focuses on fee-based contracts (87 per cent of all opened hotels in 2009), and on a business development in emerging markets like Africa and Russia/CIS where Rezidor is the leading international player.
With Carlson Companies as its main shareholder, Rezidor was listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange in 2006.
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