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International Review

Regional/International Project Updates

August 2012

Major projects to make Saudi top tourist centre

Saudi Arabia will become a top tourist centre in the Arab world as major recreational projects are delivered, according to Prince Sultan bin Salman, chairman of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities.
The Kingdom is seen as lagging behind its GCC neighbours, such as the UAE and Oman, in providing attractive destinations for the regional and wider global tourism market. The Prince has identified key areas which need to be addressed before Saudi Arabia can hope to provide a credible tourist alternative to its Gulf rivals.
Speaking to Al Arabiya Channel, Prince Sultan said: “Saudi tourism is a big project. We need to develop infrastructure to promote tourism and we need greater private sector investment in the sector. “We have already completed a number of projects for providing integrated tourism services. It will take time for us to complete some of the major projects,” he added.
The SCTA chief also said that tourism would play a major role in creating more jobs for young Saudi men and women, and strengthening the national economy. “Tourism is the second largest provider of jobs, accounting for 26%, and Saudis are happy to work in this vital sector,” Prince Sultan said.
The Prince also pointed to the success of tourism festivals that have been held in various regions and cities this year with the support of governorates and tourism committees, stating that more than 10m people had attended such events during the summer.
Bin Salman also denied suggestions that a large number of Saudi nationals go to foreign tourist destinations including Dubai to spend their Eid holidays.
“Saudi Arabia is a big country with a population of 26m. Only a small percentage of Saudis go abroad for tourism,” he said. However, he pointed out that, like other nationals, Saudis also visit foreign tourist destinations.


REPORT FROM INDIA—Hotel development in many markets can feel like a 400-meter hurdle race. But in India, a bustling region plagued with conflicting laws, government red tape and poor infrastructure, among other challenges, that race can feel more like a marathon.
Yet despite the challenges, the enthusiasm of well-entrenched hotel companies seeking to invest in India has not appeared to wane. Expansion plans are getting drawn up, joint ventures are being announced, both private equity and pension funds are seeking to deploy capital, and newer groups are looking to get a foothold in the market.
The list of players includes several major global chains. Hyatt Hotels Corporation is busy developing eight hotels in India under its Hyatt, Hyatt House, Park Hyatt and Hyatt Place brands. Wyndham Hotel Group will expand its Night and Dream brands into the country after signing a master franchise agreement with Chatwal Hotels & Resorts LLC. And InterContinental Hotels Group is ramping up investment via its joint venture with Duet India Hotels Group.
“Our (joint-venture) agreement is for developing 19 Holiday Inn Express in India with InterContinental Hotels Group. We are already under development in some of the key cities, such as Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad,” said Naveen Jain, president of Duet India Hotels. “We are actively looking at opportunities in other markets to build Holiday Inn Express hotels. The model we have for our hotels is highly efficient in terms of its operational costs and will deliver higher profitability.”

Naveen Jain
Duet India Hotels

India-based groups also are getting into the game. Hero Group will build its first hotel in Gurgaon, while New Dheli-based Lemon Tree Hotels is set to build several new hotels throughout the country after Dutch pension fund manager APG acquired a strategic stake.

Raking in returns
Hotels that are typically completed and operational within 24 months internationally take almost 48 months in India. The country suffers from numerous barriers—government red tape, different tax structures and property laws from one state to another, difficulties acquiring land, property disputes, high interest rates, poor access to funding and insufficient infrastructure—that shackle growth.
So what is it that is making the industry tick? Why, despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles, is there investment flowing into the country?
According to sources, it is because of the combination of future potential, a decent growth rate and comfortable returns.
“India is a strategic market for investors,” said Rahul Pandit, president and director on the board, Lemon Tree & Red Fox Hotel Company. “The market is hugely under-serviced. We have only one hotel room per 10,000 people versus the global average of 28 rooms per 10,000.
“Further, our growth rate—much healthier at 7% versus the negative to flat rate of western Europe and North America—makes India a rational choice, given additionally the strong domestic consumption and the fact that we are set to add 100 million people to our workforce over the next 10 years, with higher disposable incomes, nuclear families and rapid urbanization—all contributory factors to increased travel spend,” Pandit said.
Jain shared a similar sentiment. “India is a huge country, and hence the opportunities are vast. The trend shows growth in (gross domestic product) is led by domestic consumption, and therefore hotels will remain a big beneficiary of this growth,” he said. 
“We expect India to continue to grow at a pace faster than some of the other economies, which makes it attractive for us to invest in India. As business grows, the need to travel for business is a natural phenomenon which will lead to growth in demand for hotel rooms. If you look at the trends in domestic travel in India over the last few years, it shows a strong growth pattern. Also, with the growth in volume from in-bound business, it is an attractive opportunity for the hotels,” Jain added.
Filling the need
India will need approximately 188,500 additional hotel rooms by 2021 to meet projected demand, according to a HVS white paper.
The report further says, “Assuming a loan-to-cost ratio of 1:1 for the $25.5 billion requirement, financial institutes would need to lend $12.75 billion in the next ten years for the construction of these hotel rooms. It is to be noted that the figures presented above are deflated as they only highlight the construction cost. In reality, the cost of land, which typically makes up 30% of the total development cost of a hotel, would need to be added in order to accurately highlight the total investment required by the development of these additional hotel rooms.”
Given these projections for the number of rooms and the funding required for them, the potential for investment is huge. More importantly, the profitability and returns are strong as well, sources said.
“The investment is still not big time. It is still a trickle at $200 (million) to $300 million (per year), but it is there,” said Manav Thadani, chairman of HVS South Asia. “The returns in India are better. The bottom level is stronger. The hotels are profitable. The returns in developed markets are 28% to 30%, while in India it is 38% to 40%, which is much higher.” 

Rahul Pandit
Lemon Tree & Red Fox Hotel Company

But the return on hotel investments might not be as immediate, said Lemon Tree’s Pandit. Time of investment also plays a major factor on return.
“Hotels typically deliver healthy returns post a full cycle, benefiting not only from inflation-led ascension in margins but also from appreciation in the real-estate asset value. Funds are therefore interested in this sector for the underlying long-term, healthy (return on capital employed) and historical asset appreciation.
“The sector, however, is punishing for individual investors who enter during the valley with high leverage and are unable to service repayment from feeble cash flows,” Pandit said.
Acquiring land has proven increasingly difficult, however, sources said. One option being explored is lease arrangements from owners instead of an outright buy. This is especially true in crowded metropolitans, where getting prime land is difficult and expensive.
“Government leases run for a typical 33 years, while in the private sector I have seen leases being signed for as many as 80 to 90 years,” HVS’ Thadani said.
“Individual hotel (returns on capital employed) are further impacted by the launch time of individual projects,” Pandit said. “Projects launched at cycle peaks stabilize in a year-plus, while valley launches can take three years to hit stable returns. Cash flows are further impacted by the project leverage, interest rates and repayment tenure.”
The initial ramp-up period is often the most difficult. Accordingly, most investors prepare themselves for the long haul, Thadani said. “Hotels are a good asset class to have in your portfolio.”
But once the property is up and running, it is a winning formula, Pandit said. 


Oman leads MidEast hotel construction rush

Hotel sectors across the Gulf region are set to see  huge growth in construction activity, new figures released by STR Global have confirmed. Its July edition of the Middle East/Africa hotel development pipeline comprised 495 hotels totalling 125,481 rooms.
The Construction Pipeline Report said Oman reported the largest expected room growth (up 81.2 percent) if all 5,417 rooms in the country’s total active pipeline open.
The data also showed that other Gulf state showed "significant expected room growth". Saudi Arabia's hotel market is set to grow by 53.9 percent with 27,624 rooms expected to open while Qatar is expected to see 47.1 percent with 6,785 rooms.
Qatar is embarking on a major tourism spending spree as it looks ahead to hosting the 2022 World Cup tournament which will bring in thousands of visitors from all over the world.
The STR Global data also said that the UAE's tourism sector would grow by 38.6 percent with 35,052 rooms included in its active construction pipeline.
Last month, research by Ventures ME said the value of hotel and hospitality construction contracts will witness enormous growth throughout 2012 to reach $7.3bn. This growth is a direct result of the increased demand for hotel space in the GCC where room revenues are set to reach $22bn in 2012 and expected to increase to $27bn by 2015, the research said.       

STR Global: Asia/Pac results for July 2012

Hotels in the Asia/Pacific region experienced mixed results in the three key performance metrics for July 2012 when reported in U.S. dollars, according to data compiled by STR Global.
In year-over-year measurements, the Asia/Pacific region’s occupancy decreased 2.2 percent to 68.3 percent, its average daily rate ended the month virtually flat with a 0.2-percent increase to US$136.06 and its revenue per available room was down 2.1 percent to US$92.86.
“Thailand and French Polynesia were the two out of 15 countries tracked on our Asia/Pacific Hotel Review that reported double-digit RevPAR increases for July 2012 compared to July last year”, said Elizabeth Randall Winkle, managing director at STR Global. “Thailand had its best July occupancy performance since 2006, with 67.8 percent for July 2012, just beating its July 2006 performance of 67.1 percent. Its ADR (THB3,062) for the month is still below its July 2008 peak of THB3,315. We have seen demand for hotel accommodation across the country increasing for the seven months this year (+10.3 percent) resulting as well from the increase in international visitors, especially from China, as reported by the Tourism Authority of Thailand”.
“French Polynesia also reported its best July occupancy since July 2006 achieving 70.4 percent for July 2012, beating the last peak of July 2007 (68.1 percent). After the heavy occupancy declines seen in 2009 due to the global economic downturn, the islands had been reporting monthly occupancy and demand increases for the majority of months since 2010. A reduction in room inventory in the same period has helped to boost performances. Looking at the average room rate, July 2012 was its best performance of a July in the last six years”.
Highlights from key market performers in July 2012 in local currency (yearover-year comparisons): • Hanoi, Vietnam, rose 23.7 percent in occupancy to 64.8 percent, posting the largest increase in that metric. • Jakarta, Indonesia (-10.3 percent to 73.1 percent), and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (-10.0 percent to 78.4 percent), reported the largest occupancy decreases for the month.
• Jakarta achieved the largest ADR increase, rising 21.6 percent to IDR954,878.37,, followed by Taipei, Taiwan (+18.6 percent to TWD5,554.87), and Phuket, Thailand (+16.9 percent to THB3,155.18).
• Three markets experienced RevPAR increases of more than 15 percent: Phuket (+26.2 percent to THB2,309.32); Hanoi (+25.0 percent to VND1,432,239.53); and Tokyo, Japan (+19.9 percent to JPY11,375.45).
• Delhi, India, fell 14.4 percent in RevPAR to INR3,383.47, reporting the largest decrease in that metric.
Highlights from key market performers for July 2012 in U.S. dollars (yearover-year comparisons):
• Taipei rose 14.0 percent in ADR to US$184.71, reporting the largest increase in that metric. Beijing, China, followed with a 13.1-percent increase to US$107.26.
• Two markets experienced ADR decreases of more than 20 percent: Delhi (-27.3 percent to US$111.72) and Mumbai (-22.1 percent to US$132.94).
• Three markets achieved RevPAR increases of more than 15 percent:                                                                                                    Hanoi (+22.3 percent to US$67.92); Phuket (+20.9 percent to US$73.08); and Tokyo (+17.6 percent to US$145.27).       

Onomo execs are African development optimists

There were a lot of “Afro-pessimists” in the hotel industry when Christian Mure and Philippe Colleu started their Onomo Hotel brand in 2008. The sentiment at the time seemed to be that the African continent didn’t show much promise at all for the hotel industry.
Mure remembers typing the words “Africa brand” into Google and not getting any results. “In the beginning there was nothing, really,” Mure said of African hotel development.
Now four years into the brand’s development, the pair is trying to show that the hotel industry can thrive in Africa. “We fight to change the spirit for Africa and say there are good reasons to be Afro-optimists,” Mure said. Onomo, which owns and operates its assets, has two properties open with a robust pipeline of 13 hotels planned comprising 1,579 rooms. The 13 properties put it in the No. 3 position in terms of number of properties in the pipeline, behind Ibis and Radisson Blu, according to a recent report issued by Lagos, Nigeria-based W Hospitality Group. And the 1,579 rooms puts Onomo in the No. 7 position on W Hospitality’s ranking of total pipeline rooms.
The pipeline ramp up happened suddenly; Onomo did not appear in W Hospitality’s top 10 in pipeline rooms for 2011. Onomo-branded hotels that are open are the 108-room Hotel Onomo Dakar Senegal, which opened in 2010, and the 118-room Hotel Onomo Libreville in Libreville, Gabon. A third property, the 118-room Hotel Abidjan Airport in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, is scheduled to open in October, and a fourth property in Mali is planned to open at the end of 2013, Mure said.
The company has other projects in the works as well, including in Togo where Onomo has signed a long-term lease; construction is expected to begin in 2013. Also, a joint-venture partnership for an Onomo hotel in Lagos, Nigeria, is in the offing with construction scheduled to begin next year.
Beginning in 2013, Onomo, co-headquartered in Paris and Dakar, Senegal, has plans to begin opening between four and eight hotels a year in Africa. Within three to four years, the company hopes to have between 15 to 20 hotels in operation. Franchise opportunities are also a possibility.
“We think there is room for any major city in Africa to get one, two or three Onomos,” said Mure, who formerly oversaw development in Asia for Accor. Colleu is also a former Accor executive and was responsible for African development.
In North and Sub Saharan Africa, there are 208 hotels comprising 38,074 rooms, according to W Hospitality. Further, there are 495 properties comprising 125,481 rooms overall in the Middle East/Africa pipeline, according to STR Global, sister company of HotelNewsNow.com.

Focus on business travel

The growth of the African middle class is a reason to be optimistic about development on the continent, Mure said. Much of the company’s base business is comprised of business travelers, Mure said. As such, the company tends to look for sites near airports or economic zones within the African cities. “There is very good demand today in Africa” from business travelers, Mure said. The company intends to focus its efforts on Africa in developing full-service, 3-star properties. Much of the development is expected to occur outside of the more mature markets of South Africa, Morocco and Eastern Africa, Mure said. “It’s time to consider (Africa) as a market like any other,” Mure said.
Though Onomo has received inquiries from potential development partners in the Middle East and South America, Mure said the company intends to remain committed to Africa, fearing that biting off too much too soon would be detrimental to Onomo.
Still, Mure said that once Onomo has its footing more solidly entrenched in the African market, the company could be willing to expand to other global regions. Joint ventures could be one avenue for which to grow the Onomo brand, Mure said. “We are just at the beginning,” he said.      

Asia Pacific Tops Global Hotel Pipeline for July: STR Global
Asia Pacific dominated the global hotel development pipeline in July, according to new data from STR Global. Asia Pacific's hotel development pipeline in July comprised 1,641 hotels totalling 375,917 rooms. Among the region's countries, China reported the largest number of rooms under construction with 136,424 rooms. Other countries to report a significant number of rooms under construction included India at 27,908 rooms, Indonesia at 11,081 rooms, Thailand at 8,361 rooms and Vietnam at 7,102 rooms.

The Europe hotel development pipeline comprised 898 hotels totaling 145,692 rooms. Among the markets in the region, London ended the month with the largest number of rooms under construction with 3,939 rooms. Five other markets reported more than 900 rooms in the in construction phase were Moscow at 2,167 rooms, Berlin, at 1,912 rooms, Amsterdam at 1,469 rooms, Vienna at 947 rooms and Cologne, Germany at 931 rooms.

Middle East/Africa
The Middle East/Africa hotel development pipeline comprised 495 hotels totaling 125,481 rooms. Among the countries in the region, Oman reported the largest expected room growth of 81.2% if all 5,417 rooms in the country's total active pipeline open. Other countries to report a significant expected room growth were Saudi Arabia at 53.9% with 27,624 rooms expected to open, Qatar at 47.1% with 6,785 rooms, Algeria at 43.6% with 1,875 rooms and United Arab Emirates at 38.6% with 35,052 rooms.

Central/South America
The Central/South America hotel development pipeline comprised 234 hotels totalling 32,749 rooms. Year-to-date 2012, 24 hotels with 3,952 rooms have opened in the region. For the remainder of the year, 28 properties are expected to open with 3,593 rooms. The upper midscale segment is expecting to open the most rooms with 903 rooms in six properties, followed by the upscale segment with 738 rooms in seven properties. In 2013, 83 hotels with 12,039 rooms are planned to open in the region. The midscale segment, at 30 hotels with 3,485 rooms and the upscale segment, at 19 hotels with 3,059 rooms are expected to open the most rooms among the chain scale segments.

The Caribbean/Mexico hotel development pipeline comprised 132 hotels totaling 20,214 rooms. Among the chain scale segments, the upscale segment represented the largest number of rooms in the total active pipeline with 23.5%and 4,756 rooms. Three other segments each accounted for 15% or more of rooms in the total active pipeline: the unaffiliated segment at 23.3% with 4,715 rooms, the luxury segment at 20.7% with 4,180 rooms and the upper midscale segment at 19.6% with 3,954 rooms.                                       
Source: http://www.hotelsmag.com/

It seems like nothing puts a destination on the map more firmly than appearing in a James Bond film. 


Phang Nga Bay, on Thailand's Andaman Coast, shot to fame in 1974 when Roger Moore swooped between the distinctive limestone karsts which stick out of the sea in a tiny plane before skimming along the water and landing on the beach in The Man with the Golden Gun. Decades later, travellers still come here to see the iconic location. Now they can stay in appropriately stylish surroundings that James Bond himself would approve of.Opening July 2013, Point Yamu by COMO is set on a private beach on the east side of Phuket and will have 79 rooms and 30 villas, with views across the bay.Designed by Paola Navone, who has worked with the likes of Armani Casa and Gervasoni, the interiors will be contemporary, and with a colour palette inspired by the blue sea and rich oranges of the robes worn by the country's Buddhist monks.Two restaurants will serve Thai and Italian dishes, with an emphasis on health and nutrition. As at its award-winning sister resorts Parrot Cay in Turks & Caicos, and Cocoa Island, Maldives, the food is steamed or grilled rather than fried, and made using organic produce where possible. As well as the 100-metre-long swimming pool, guests can swim in the waters off the beach. A COMO Shambhala Retreat will offer Thai massage, face and body treatments, and yoga and wellness activities.      

Floating Golf Courses, Villas And Hotels All Part Of Sinking Maldives Plan To Hover Above Rising Sea Levels

Maybe you've already heard: The Maldives is sinking. So what do you do w hen your tourist-dependent country is slowly disappearing into the sea? If you're the Maldivian government, you create a series of floating islands that include a hotel and convention center, private villas, yacht club and 18-hole golf course.                                                                                                                                                       The Maldives is the epitome of paradise with its bone-white sand, towering palms and crystal-clear waters, but the low-lying chain of 1,190 islands in the Indian Ocean will not be around forever. Sitting at an average of just five feet above sea level (w ith 80 percent of the Maldives less than three feet above the encroaching waves), many scientists predict that rising water levels could submerge the chain by the turn of the century.                                                                                                                                          A concerned President Mohamed Nasheed conducted the world's first underwater cabinet meeting to highlight the issue ahead of a 2009 U.N. climate change conference in Copenhagen. He warned world leaders that if something is not done to reduce greenhouse gasses that are warming the planet, the Maldives will soon disappear.                                                                                                                            Now the new government has followed suit, taking the next step to combat the problem by laying out radical plans to replace the sinking islands of the lowest country in the world with a network of man-made floating ones. Maldives officials see the manufactured islands as the best alternative in the face of options that include relocating population centers or building defense walls, as they have around the capital of Male.      

Marriott International, Inc. has announced that it will open its first hotel in Ukraine, the 173-room Renaissance Kiev Hotel, under a management agreement with Subsidiary Enterprise Grand Plaza. 


The hotel is expected to open in mid-2013 following an extension and renovation of the existing historic building formerly known as the Leipzig Hotel. Renaissance Hotels represents the signature lifestyle brand within the Marriott International global portfolio. Recognized for its signature guest programs including R Navigator and RLife LIVE, Renaissance Hotels currently has 35 hotels throughout Europe. Kiev, Ukraine’s capital city, serves as the economic, political, and cultural centre of the country. The Renaissance Kiev Hotel will be perfectly situated in the heart of the city centre on the corner of famed Volodymyrska and Prorizna Streets, facing Golden Gate Park. The hotel is located a short walk from the city’s key attractions including the shopping district, government buildings and Saint Sophia Square and a stone’s throw from the city’s Opera House. Boasting stunning, elaborate architecture and design, the Renaissance Kiev will add a new extension to the existing, historic façade coupled with sensitive interior re-design. A hotel brand known for its ability to incorporate indigenous inspiration within every guest experience, the historic property will be restored to its former glory, bringing the distinct look and feel of the Renaissance Hotels brand to the dynamic city of Kiev.   


Hualuxe, a hotel brand designed for Chinese travellers that was introduced by InterContinental Hotels Group in March, has signed management contracts for eight hotels in China. 

The hotels range from 282 to 400 guestrooms and include properties in Shanghai and Beijing. The new hotels are expected to open between 2014 and 2016, and all are signed with owners who are working with IHG for the first time, IHG said. IHG says the brand will “focus on the unique aspects of Chinese etiquette, the importance of rejuvenation, status recognition and enabling spaces that reflect local customs and heritage.” IHG intends to make Hualuxe an international brand.


Ikea, the successful budget furniture retailer, is looking to build and develop at least 100 budget hotels across Europe in its latest push into the property market, according to a report in the Financial Times.
Inter Ikea, the company that owns the intellectual property rights of Ikea, is considering sites across Europe for what it calls “budget design” hotels. The hotels will not use the Ikea name and will not be run by the Swedish company but by an established hotel operator, according to an executive familiar with the plans.
Inter Ikea hopes to build the hotels in markets where it is already active, such as the U.K., the Netherlands and Poland, as well as in new markets such as Germany.
“We will announce within a few weeks the first location for our budget hotel in Germany and we are in talks with hotel operators to rapidly implement our concept,” Harald Müller, a senior manager in Inter Ikea’s property division, told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in Germany


Recognized worldwide for its stunning accommodations, Bellagio announced today that it will remodel all 928 rooms and suites in the resort's Spa Tower beginning August 19.

 Following Bellagio's $70 million redesign of 2,568 guest rooms in its main tower in 2011, the Spa Tower remodel will encompass 819 guest rooms and 109 suites including the prestigious Chairman and Presidential suites. The $40 million project is expected to be completed by December 2012. "The Spa Tower remodel will broaden our distinct selection of luxury accommodations and strengthen our commitment to the overall evolution of the Bellagio experience," said Randy Morton, president and COO of Bellagio. "The new designs and layouts of the suites are exquisite and complement the contemporary ambiance we've created throughout the resort." In addition to the Resort King and Resort Queen guest rooms, the Spa Tower features a wide range of suites including the 850-square-foot Salon Suites; the 1,000-square-foot Bellagio Suites; the 1,500-square-foot Penthouses; the 1,900-square-foot two-bedroom Bellagio Suites; and the 4,000-square-foot Chairman and Presidential suites. Additionally, as part of this remodel, Bellagio will introduce three new Executive Hospitality Suites created with entertainment and technology in mind. The 2,500-square-foot suites each will feature a billiards lounge and separate home theatre living area allowing guests to comfortably host intimate, yet interactive events in a vibrant setting. Created by the talented MGM Resorts International Design Group, the new Spa Tower Resort Rooms will be consistent with the three designs represented in Bellagio's main tower. The Resort King Rooms will feature an indigo and silver combination or a green tea and plum palette while the Resort Queen Rooms will welcome guests with an amber and butterscotch motif.



Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide's Aloft brand plans to open its first hotel in South Korea in late-2014 in this industrial suburb of Seoul.

The 120-room hotel, which will be part of a mixed-use development, including retail and residential components, will be owned by locally based Youngshin HDR Co. While a first for South Korea, it will be the 11th Aloft for the rapidly expanding Asia-Pacific region. "We are pleased to partner with Youngshin Hrd., Ltd. to bring the Aloft brand to South Korea for the first time," said Stephen Ho, president, Asia Pacific, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., in a statement. "While Starwood has maintained a long-standing presence in South Korea since the opening of the Westin Chosun Busan, this signing marks an important milestone in our overall growth strategy to expand the Aloft brand," Ho continued.


Middle East and Africa News roundup 
abal Omar planning 10 Mecca hotel towers

Jabal Omar Development Company intends to open 10 hotel towers in Mecca during 2013 in an attempt to accommodate an expected increase in Islamic pilgrims, according to Bloomberg.
The company is developing 2.2 million square meters (24 million square feet) of land near the Grand Mosque, Sameer Al-Quraishi, executive general director of Jabal Omar, said. The site was designed to include 38 hotel towers and the country’s biggest shopping mall.
“Saudi Arabia is aiming to increase the number of people who are allowed to perform the annual pilgrimage,” Al-Quraishi said. “It’s also mostly trying to accommodate more religious visitors and that will surely increase demand for hotels.”

Qatar on hotel spending spree
The Qatar Investment Authority has been busy gobbling up hotel investments. This year alone, Qatar's hotel owner and developer Katara Hospitality has bought two flagship Raffles hotels in Singapore and Paris and also is set to buy four luxury hotels in France from Starwood Capital for $940 million. While Qatar Holding will own the hotels, it will ask U.S. hotel group Hyatt to manage them, according to the French newspaper Le Figaro.
The QIA is also looking to acquire a portfolio of 42 U.K.-based Marriott hotels in a deal worth up to approximately $1.1 billion, according to The Sunday Times.
“Qatar has identified an opportunity to obtain assets in a favorable environment where asset owners are looking to offload their properties at a time where most of Europe is continuing to struggle with high debt,” said Christopher Hewett, consultant at TRI Hospitality Consulting. “This is particularly the case with the 42 Marriott hotels in the United Kingdom.”

Cairo hotels on recovery path
After more than a year and a half, Egypt has a president and its citizens can finally start looking toward their future, writes HotelNewsNow.com blogger David Grossniklaus.
The country’s economy certainly needs to get its tourism business back on track—an important task considering 11% of its gross domestic product is directly linked to tourism expenditure.
But it won’t be easy. Last year’s political protests and the subsequent uncertainty surrounding the government transition and election process scared off would-be visitors. During the first five months of 2011, revenue per available room in Cairo’s hotel industry was down nearly 50% in the luxury and upper-upscale segments.

Sub-Saharan Africa a hotel development hotbed
recent study by Lagos, Nigeria-based consultancy W Hospitality Group revealed hotel development in Sub-Saharan Africa is showing a big increase in hotel development.
The number of rooms in the Sub-Saharan pipeline is up 42% to 20,625 rooms, according to W Hospitality.
“Africa is receiving increasing attention from the international chains, who clearly see the need to expand their presence, particularly with above-average growth in the number of travelers to the region, and some of the fastest-growing economies in the world,” W Hospitality Managing Director Trevor J. Ward said in a news release.
Deals and development

  • InterContinental Hotels Group signed its first hotel in Algeria: the 243-room Holiday Inn Algiers-Cheraga Tower in Algiers.
  • Hilton Worldwide signed a management agreement for the 300-room Hilton Erbil Hotel & Spa in Erbil, Iraq.
  • The Oetker Collection’s Le Bristol Abu Dhabi is scheduled to open in 2013.
  • Accor has acquired the 209-room Hotel Ivoire in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
  • Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts has taken over management of the Bilila Lodge in the Serengeti National Park; the property will be relaunched as the Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti, Tanzania,according to Forbes.

Source: http://hotelnewsnow.com/

Casino operator Crown Limited placed a $596-million bet on a new luxury hotel in Perth to serve an influx of tourists and executives to western Australia. Construction of the hotel at Crown's existing Burswood Entertainment Complex, which currently comprises a casino, two hotels and a multitude of bars and restaurants, is set to begin in early 2013 and take about three years to complete. The property will comprise 500 rooms and will include restaurants, bars, a resort and convention facilities. 
The development of the new hotel will take Crown Limited’s investment in the Burswood complex, which it acquired in 2004, to more than $1.4 billion. In addition to the total cost of acquiring Burswood of almost $946 million, Crown’s total investment in Perth will now exceed $2.3 billion.

Source: http://hotelnewsnow.com/



CEBUNEXT- The 2011 Furniture Exhibition3
CEBUNEXT - The 2011 Furniture Exhibition