Terrorism and declining oil prices affected the regional hospitality sector especially in Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt, according to Mark Willis, Vice president Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group.
Willis is however optimistic about the results of the Saudi economy during the first quarter of 2017 while stressing that the most difficult performance for their Radisson Blu hotels was in Turkey and Egypt.
“We saw surplus of rooms in Qatar and Dubai with stable occupancy rates. We had some difficulties in Turkey and Egypt but compared to our competitors, we are performing very well,” he explained. “Countries with the lowest results were the ones that were heavily hit by declining oil prices like Saudi Arabia. The slowdown in oil-related and government projects led to major losses in the kingdom but we can see an improvement in the Saudi economy during the first quarter of 2017.”
Willis stressed that the group is witnessing its biggest growth in the UAE market in light of its plans to inaugurate 14 new hotels by the year 2019 as well as Radisson Blu Waterfront by mid summer this year, the 150-room Radisson Blu in Ajman due in July, the 150-room Park Inn Bay Motor City and the 200-room Radisson Blu Residence Silicon Oasis.
Currently, 60 hotels are under implementation in the GCC region with inaugurations scheduled within the coming 36 months while the group has plans to raise the number of hotels in the GCC countries and MENA region to 100 during the coming three to four years, added Willis.