Rotana announces three new properties as part of Qatar expansion drive

Local🕔 7 February 2016

• Rotana Hotels 2016 GCC Road Show highlights pivotal role played by GCC travellers who account for 75% of overall visitors to Qatar

• GCC represents the largest outbound and inbound travel market in the region for Rotana – accounting for 37% of room nights and 40% of room revenue

Doha, Qatar – 7 February 2016: Rotana, one of the leading hotel management companies in the Middle East, Africa, South Asia and Eastern Europe, has further underlined its commitment to the Qatar market with the announcement of three new hotels to open before the end of 2018.

Set to usher in a new era of hospitality experience in Doha, the new hotels were announced at a roundtable hosted to mark the Rotana Hotels 2016 GCC Road Show, which arrived in Doha after kicking off from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia last week. The properties include the soon-to-open Centro Capital Doha which falls under Rotana’s lifestyle affordable hotel brand “Centro by Rotana”; Plaza Rayhaan by Rotana Doha, and Downtown Arjaan by Rotana Doha. While the 220-key Centro Capital Doha will open for business in the first quarter of 2016, the Plaza Rayhaan Doha (400 keys) and Downtown Arjaan Doha (225 keys) are scheduled to open in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

Together, the new hotels add 845 rooms to take Rotana’s total inventory in Qatar to 1,876 keys, the company’s Chief Operating Officer Guy Hutchinson said at the roundtable, where he also shared insights on expected hospitality trends in 2016 as well as the outlook for Qatar’s hospitality industry in the year ahead.

“Qatar currently lacks in affordable business hotels that yet offer world-class service and comfort to guests, creating a gap in the market that brands like “Centro by Rotana” can look forward to filling,” noted Hutchinson.

Observing that the GCC represents the largest outbound and inbound travel market in the region for Rotana, both in terms of volume and value, Hutchinson said that currently, 37% of Rotana's room nights and 40% of Rotana's room revenue are generated from the GCC region, with the company witnessing an increase of nearly 8% year on year.

Commenting on the growth prospects for Rotana and the wider industry in 2016, Hutchinson said that the outlook for the GCC tourism sector in 2016 remains positive despite market conditions continuing to remain challenging due to plummeting oil prices and the collapse in value of the Ruble and Euro.

“In their continued push to diversify their economies, GCC governments are stepping up spending in infrastructure projects and this is expected to have a positive impact on sustaining investor appetite for the region and its tourism industry. Although demand from traditional source markets has seen a decline, we have been witnessing a steady rise in intra-regional travel - a trend we expect to continue through 2016. This, along with the rising status of cities such as Dubai, Doha and Jeddah as prominent MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) destinations, should enable the region’s hospitality industry to maintain its growth pace in 2016.”

Turning his attention to the Qatar market, Hutchinson pointed out that, with the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) setting in motion plans to attract 7 million visitors per year by 2030 as part of the government’s drive to diversify its income sources, the sector’s direct contribution to the economy is expected to amount to 3.1% of national GDP.

He said, “Qatar is home to a diverse range of cultural attractions, which include both natural and man-made assets. Moreover, Qatar’s strategic location makes it easily accessible from all major tourism source markets, and with efforts currently underway to further develop its MICE tourism infrastructure and with the country preparing to host a number of major sporting events including the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Qatar can expect to see increased tourism demand, driven by its diversified leisure, business and cultural offerings.”

“The GCC countries represent the largest source market for Qatar, accounting for more than 75% of overall visitors in the previous years, indicating Qatar’s heavy reliance on this region. This trend will likely maintain in 2016,” he added.

On the top hospitality trends expected in the Middle East in 2016, Hutchinson said, “The Millennials, or the new-generation travelers, 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% increase in monthly mobile bookings in 2015, delivering a significant return on investment in developing the mobility platform.”

Rotana currently manages more than 100 hotels in the Middle East, Africa, South Asia and Eastern Europe, with an aggressive expansion plan for the future.

Local🕔 7 February 2016

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