Rotana looks to further expand presence in UAE

Home-grown hotel management company, Rotana has revealed plans to further expand its presence in the UAE, with the opening of nine new hotels over the next five years.

These are set to include four properties in the capital, Abu Dhabi and another five properties in Dubai, according to the company’s chief operating officer, Guy Hutchinson, who announced the news at the company’s 2016 GCC Road Show.

The new properties include five under the Rotana Hotels & Resorts brand, three under the Arjaan hotel apartments by Rotana brand, and one under Rotana’s lifestyle affordable hotel brand, Centro by Rotana. These hotels will add 3,598 keys to the company’s existing 9,584-strong room count in the UAE only, and will take the total number of Rotana properties in the UAE to 44 by 2020.

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During the GCC Road Show the company also signaled its intent to consolidate its presence in the GCC, with a string of new projects in key markets including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and the UAE. Rotana announced the opening of five new hotels in the KSA in 2016, three new hotels in Qatar and one new hotel in Kuwait by the end of 2018, in addition to the nine properties announced for the UAE market.

Hutchinson added: “The GCC remains the largest source market for Rotana properties in the UAE and elsewhere, and with intra-regional travel on the rise and accounting for a larger share of visitor spend than ever before, now is the perfect time for Rotana to strengthen our relationships with our travel trade partners and share updates on our expansion plans for the region.”

With the decline in Ruble having had a major impact on spending by tourists from Russia, and with the Chinese economy slowing down sharply, Hutchinson stated that Rotana is looking to increased tourist arrivals from the GCC to help the UAE hospitality industry maintain its growth pace in 2016.

“We are very optimistic about the outlook for the UAE and the GCC tourism sector in 2016. Although the market environment continues to remain challenging, we see many positive trends and developments that could yet propel hospitality growth in the region in the year ahead – such as increased infrastructure spending by GCC governments, continuing rise in intra-regional travel percentage, and the rapid growth of MICE tourism,” he said.

Commenting on the top hospitality trends expected in the Middle East in 2016, Hutchinson said: “The Millennials, or the next-generation travellers, have been the latest focus for the industry. We’re seeing a lot of growth in that area and then they’re influencing the older generations as well. Rotana has been pioneering e-commerce-focused innovations in the Middle East hospitality industry. Furthermore, we have developed a Rotana Mobile App which has posted a 20 per cent increase in monthly mobile bookings in 2015, delivering a significant return on investment in developing the mobility platform.”