The WPJ

Starwood Hotels Expands Footprint in Middle East and Africa

Vacation News » Middle East and Africa Vacation News Edition | By Scott Kauffman | May 16, 2012 8:30 AM ET



LeMeridien-Oran-Algeria.jpg

LeMeridien Oran, Algeria

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is strengthening its position as the leading hotel operator in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region with an existing portfolio of nearly 70 hotels and a pipeline of 40 new hotels. This growth, primarily in the luxury and upper-upscale segments, represents an increase of nearly 60 percent 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 Starwood Hotels & Resorts' president/CEO Frits van Paasschen. "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."

One of the newer projects in Africa is the debut of Le Meridien in Algeria with the new Le Meridien Oran, designed by Rockwell Group Europe.

With the openings of six new hotels under five of the company's varying lifestyle brands, Starwood has marked a number of key milestones in MENA over the past 18 months. Among the highlights is the launch of Starwood's 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. Meanwhile, the first Westin hotel in Abu Dhabi opened as the Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa.

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."



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