Starwood To Open 40 MENA Hotels By 2017

The international hotel operator is planning to add 13,000 new rooms to the region by 2017.

Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide plans to open 40 new hotels in the MENA region by 2017, adding to its existing portfolio of 70 hotels. The new projects will be primarily in the luxury and upper-upscale segments, the company said in a statement.

Starwood, which operates luxury brands such as St.Regis, Westin and Le Meridien, has launched six new hotels in the region in the last 18 months and recently signed deals for ten more.

“MENA is key to Starwood’s global expansion strategy, representing our second largest growth market after China,” Frits van Paasschen, president and CEO, Starwood Hotels & Resorts said in the statement.

“When you consider that the region has 35 metropolitan areas with a population of over one million, and many with a wealthy middle class, there’s huge long-term potential for internationally-branded luxury and upper-upscale hotels,” he said.

Later this year, the company will be opening a new St. Regis hotel in Abu Dhabi, and the Sheraton Medina and Four Points by Sheraton Medina in Saudi Arabia.

Among the ten new hotel projects, four will be launched in Dubai, adding nearly 1,900 rooms to the city by 2017, the company said.

“MENA continues to evolve as an international business and leisure travel hub. With the number of tourists traveling to the region expected to double from nearly 80 million last year to 195 million by 2030, MENA is one of the most attractive growth markets in the world,” said Roeland Vos, president of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, EMEA.

In line with the growing importance of the region, Starwood said it is also holding its annual leadership conference in Dubai this year, the first time the conference is being held in the Middle East.