Expanding frontiers

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 July, 2011, 12:00am


From Abu Dhabi to Muscat, Cairo to Tamuda Bay in Morocco, Asia's leading hospitality groups are making a foray into the Middle East and Africa in a bid to hone their brand name abroad and optimise the opportunities emerging from these fast developing regions.

The Shangri-La hotel group, which will open a five-star property in Doha next year, its sixth property in the region, says plans in the Middle East are aligned to the group's overall strategy of selecting new locations that afford the opportunity to showcase the brand in markets with high potential for guests.

The Middle East has become an important market for the group given an increase in the region's inbound and outbound travel.

'The Shangri-La Hotel, Doha reconfirms our commitment to expanding in the Middle East,' says Greg Dogan, Shangri-La's president and CEO. 'Our target is to build a regional presence of about eight to 10 hotels.'

Other Asian hospitality chains have been equally active in the region. Dusit International, one of Thailand's largest hotel groups, is preparing for the launch of Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi by the first quarter of next year.

The group has properties in Dubai and Egypt and aims to open in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain during the next three years.

'The Middle East is a strategically important market for Dusit as the region remains one of the world's fastest growing travel and tourism regions and is experiencing a strong rebound in occupancy,' explains Chanin Donavanik, CEO.

'The success of our expansion into the Middle East will help pave the way for Dusit's future expansion into Europe, and provide the impetus to pursue new growth opportunities in other markets.'

The Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts is showcasing its hospitality in Morocco with the opening of Banyan Tree Tamuda Bay in 2013. Like many of its properties in Asia, the new resort will feature 82 pool villas, a state-of-the-art spa, beach club and a dedicated children's club. The group has plans to open a resort in Oman in 2014. and also has a property in the United Arab Emirates.