Millennium and Copthorne Middle East and Africa (MEA) has announced that it will open 20 new hotels in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which is part of a wider plan to operate 50 properties throughout the region by 2017.
The hotel group will open hotels in Riyadh, Jeddah, Medina and Makkah, as well as important second tier cities such as Hayel, Jizan, Tabouk and Baha. In total it will have over 7,000 rooms in the Kingdom which will make it top priority for the company.
“The market opportunity within the Kingdom has increased through growing domestic travel, a short supply of midscale hotels, five-star hotels in second-tier cities, especially for corporate travellers and the significant and sustained growth of religious tourism,” said Ali Hamad Lakhraim Alzaabi –President & CEO – Millennium and Copthorne Middle East.
Alzaabi’s comments were further supported by the group’s subsequent announcement that Millennium & Copthorne Hotels MEA had obtained a license to operate in Saudi Arabia as a branch of a foreign company and is currently in the process of establishing an office in the Kingdom in one of the major Saudi cities.
To support the aggressive KSA growth plan and to drive optimum performance from the Saudi portfolio, Mostafa Tantawi has joined the Group as Vice President – Operations, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
In his role, Tantawi will provide leadership and strategic direction for Millennium & Copthorne Hotels in the Kingdom. A key objective moving forward will be to deliver maximum business growth and profitability, whilst maintaining quality product and service standards across the portfolio of hotels in the Kingdom.
Currently Millennium and Copthorne Hotels & Resorts operates 17 hotels, with approximately 5,000 rooms across the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Jordan, Qatar, Oman and Iraq, with an ambitious expansion plan.
In addition to the Saudi hotels, over the next 12-18 months new properties are planned to open across the region in UAE, Kuwait and Oman. This is in line with the group’s business plan to operate 50 properties throughout the Middle East and Africa by 2017.
The announcement which was made in Abu Dhabi at the Gulf Incentive Business Travel Meetings (GIBTM) exhibition, which is taking place at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, came off the back of excellent 2013 financial results featuring a 34% increase in Gross Operating Profit (GOP) year-on-year for the group’s Middle East hotels.
“In what has proved to be a highly successful year for Millennium and Copthorne properties throughout the MENA region, the hotel group witnessed impressive growth across all of its Middle East portfolio, which returned a 23.3% increase in total revenue and a 34.1% increase in Gross Operating Profit (GOP) compared with 2012,” said Alzaabi.
In Dubai, Millennium Hotels & Resorts benefited from the continuous upward trend in visitor arrivals and added 225 rooms to its inventory at Millennium Airport Hotel and 198 rooms to the Millennium Plaza Hotel. As a result, Total Revenue jumped by 12% for the Dubai hotels and Gross Operating Profit by 30.3%.
The group’s three hotels in Abu Dhabi, including Grand Millennium Al Wahda, which is the largest hotel in the capital with 844 rooms and serviced apartments, made a signification contribution to the overall regional figures, with a 7.6 percentage points increase in occupancy levels and 30.8% increase in Gross Operating Profit in 2013.
The financial results from the UAE capital will be further boosted by the opening of what will be the group’s flagship hotel – the 667 bedroom Bab Al Qasr, located on the Abu Dhabi Corniche, which is set to come on stream in Q1 2015