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Aggressive expansion for Movenpick

Seventeen additional hotels planned across Middle East in next few years

Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts has disclosed details of ambitious plans to manage 17 additional hotels across the Middle East and to then aggressively pursue opportunities in Asia.

The Swiss hotel group has also revealed it is extended the company’s existing Bur Dubai property, to be completed by March 2007, and is currently establishing a Dubai-based sales office, to be manned by two sales managers who will be responsible for developing the outbound travel market to Mövenpick’s 55 properties worldwide.

“It will take up to five years to finish the projects we have planned for the Middle East, which will fill up gaps across the GCC primarily and make sure we have at least two hotels in every major GCC city. We will then move into India and Asia Pacific,” explained Toufic Tamim, vice president sales & marketing Middle East, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts.

“This will start when we open a chic business hotel in Bangalore in 2009. We already have one property in Phuket and more properties in this region will follow.”

Mövenpick currently operates 27 Middle East properties – 13 in Egypt, four in Jordan, one each in Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Yemen, Lebanon and the UAE and four in Saudi Arabia – but forthcoming openings in the region are set to be fast and furious.

Four properties will open in Dubai at the end of next year (see www.itp.net), followed by three more in 2008 and 2009; Dubai Pearl Hotel, Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach, and Mövenpick Hotel & Residence Laguna Tower Dubai.

Negotiations are also underway to secure management deals for two additional Dubai properties – in Dubailand and in the Sheikh Zayed Road/Business Bay area – taking its total property count in the city to 10.

“Once these properties are secured we will have every market in Dubai covered,” said Tamim. “We are also in negotiations regarding properties in Fujairah, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, but primarily in Abu Dhabi where there is potential to grow both events and leisure business.”

An Ajman property is also under construction and is set to open in 2008, giving the neighbouring Kempinski Hotel Ajman a run for its money. “The audience will be outbound meetings from Dubai, the leisure segment from Europe and the Asian market is opening up,” said Tamim. “Our prices might be slightly higher than at Kempinski as we’ll be a newer property.”

Additional Middle East properties in the pipeline include five in Saudi Arabia – in Buraydah (November 06), Al Khobar, Riyadh, Makkah and Yanbu – one each in Doha (soft opening in December for Asia Games) and Kuwait, and two in Palestine (Gaza and Ramallah), which are ready to open but “on hold” due to political instability. The hunt is also on to find a property to manage in Oman.

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