Starwood first international group to Aleppo

As part of its regional expansion plans, Starwood Hotels & Resorts is set to become the first international hotel operator to enter Aleppo in Syria when it opens the Sheraton Aleppo Hotel & Towers in the fourth quarter of 2005.

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By  Sarah Campbell Published  March 5, 2005

As part of its regional expansion plans, Starwood Hotels & Resorts is set to become the first international hotel operator to enter Aleppo in Syria when it opens the Sheraton Aleppo Hotel & Towers in the fourth quarter of 2005. The Sheraton Aleppo Hotel & Towers will offer 218 rooms and suites, three restaurants, a pub and a lounge bar. Its recreational facilities include a swimming pool, a health club and a Turkish Bath, in addition to a business centre and a large shopping arcade. For conferences and meetings, the hotel offers two fully-equipped large meeting rooms; in addition to two smaller function rooms, providing in total, over 1,000m² of meeting space. “Syria has been directing its efforts to promote intra-regional tourism,” says Philippe Cassis, senior vice president, regional director for Starwood Hotels in Africa and Middle East. “About 6.2 million tourists visited Syria in 2004, almost half of them from Arab countries, an increase of 45% over the 2003 figure of 4.3 million,” he adds. Aleppo is Syria’s second largest city, after Damascus, and has been making slow inroads into tourism for many years. The city boasts a number of historical attractions, including souqs, a citadel and a museum, and is a popular destination with regional travellers. The Syrian government is now pushing its tourism promotion, and plans to unveil a number of new tourism projects as part of its participation in Arabian Travel Market in May. Short-term plans include opening a tourism office within the GCC. Elsewhere in the region, Starwood has recently opened the Four Points Le Verdun, its third property in Lebanon and the second in the capital Beirut. Meanwhile, Starwood’s second hotel in Algeria, Sheraton Oran Hotel, will open its doors mid 2005. Starwood first entered the Algerian market in 1999 with the opening of the Sheraton Club des Pins hotel in Algiers. In a bid to cement its regional business, general managers and directors of sales and marketing from Starwood properties across the Middle East and North Africa embarked on a regional roadshow at the end of March. First stop was Dubai, with a travel trade exhibition held at the Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotel & Towers. The event proved successful, with travel agents, tour operators and destination management companies all attending to learn more about the Starwood regional portfolio of properties. The roadshow group then visited Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait.

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