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Rotana Hotels 2018 GCC Roadshow shines spotlight on Kuwait’s thriving tourism and business travel
February 7, 2018, 4:47 pm

Keen to capitalize on the booming tourism and hospitality sector and accelerating economic growth in the region, Rotana, one of the leading hotel management companies in the region with hotels across the Middle East, Africa and Turkey, will intensify efforts to increase its footprint in the regional markets, and Kuwait in particular, said Guy Hutchinson, Rotana’s Chief Operating Officer in Fahaheel while speaking on the sidelines of the Rotana Hotels 2018 GCC Roadshow. With its promising tourism industry, which is said to be worth $1 billion by 2027, the Gulf country will continue to be a magnet for hospitality investors, he added.

Having identified the potential of the market, Rotana has long established its name in Kuwait with its current operating 198 rooms and unique service offering in the country. Since its inception in 2007, Al Manshar Rotana has showcased a consistent performance across key performance indicators such as occupancy, ADR and RevPAR. To further deepen its presence in the country, Rotana has planned a second property to open by 2020. The new hotel, set to open under the ‘Centro by Rotana’ brand – the company’s lifestyle affordable hotel brand, will add 209 rooms to lift the company’s total inventory in Kuwait to over 400 keys.

“The region is on the cusp of a surge in economic growth, fueled by the continued rise of crude oil prices and diversifications efforts of governments. In 2018, the GCC region is expected to see the fastest economic expansion in three years with its growth rate projected to climb to 2.7% from just 0.3% in 2017, whereas Kuwait’s economy is projected to grow by 3.5% this year on the back of robust government spending in infrastructure developments. These prospects give us a strong impetus to further expand Rotana’s footprint in the regional markets,” said Guy Hutchinson, Chief Operating Officer of Rotana.

The region has increasingly become a destination of choice in recent years, driven by new additions to its long list of tourist attractions and its flourishing luxury retail and F&B sectors. In addition to thriving intra-regional travel, the region is expected to experience a sharp rise in the number of visitors from China and Russia over the next few years. With a 21% increase to 2021, 2.5 million Chinese travelers per year will visit various countries in the region and Kuwait will attract 7% more tourists compared to figures in 2016 from the East Asian country over the next four years.

“With its economic prospects and diverse hospitality and cultural offering, Kuwait remains one of the leading destinations for corporate and leisure travelers in the region. The government’s increased focus on the tourism sector in line with its vision of lifting visitor numbers to 440,000 a year by 2024, and the subsequent surge in tourism investment, which is projected to grow at 1.5% annually over the next 10 years to reach $445 million in 2027, will continue to bring positive momentum to the hospitality industry in Kuwait and the wider region,” Mr. Hutchinson said.

“Corporate travelers represent the majority of visitor footfalls to the country and the new initiatives like Kuwait Expo 2018 will further accelerate business travel and attract more investments to the country. The hospitality sector has remained vibrant with its diverse offering, however, there remains an urgent need for more budget and mid-market hotels in the country. To address this supply gap, Rotana is keen to introduce to Kuwait our Centro brand, which has gained the favor of new generation of travelers who seek both finesse and functionality at reasonable rates,” he added.

Commenting on the trends that will drive tourism and hospitality growth in Kuwait and the wider region in 2018, Hutchinson said, “Supported by increased investments, positive economic growth, a strong MICE industry as well as enhanced tourism and leisure offering, the region will attract new travelers from emerging and developing countries. Millennial travelers, who seek experiential tourism and technological trends, will continue to shape the industry in the region and globally in 2018.”

As part of the government’s efforts to boost tourism figures, the Kuwait International Airport is undertaking a $4.31 billion expansion that will see a new passenger terminal built within the next five years. The expansion project is set to boost the airport’s capacity to 25 million passengers per year.

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