First mover

  • Share via facebook
  • Tweet this
  • Bookmark and Share

If there was a pioneering international hotelier in the Middle East, it would have to be Hilton Worldwide. On countless occasions, the global giant has established a hotel in the middle of nowhere, only to see it gradually become the centrepoint of many.

Take Jumeirah Beach Residence in Dubai, for example. When Hilton opened its beach resort there in 2000 it was the standalone development, a lone hotel with miles of desert between it and the rest of Dubai.

Today it is dwarfed by not only a coastline of resorts but also a barrage of skyscraper residences creating three new suburbs, with numerous more buildings, including a mall next door, to come.

In the UAE’s northernmost emirate, Hilton was the first international brand in Ras Al Khaimah (RAK), taking on a rundown building in the centre of town and turning it into a booming property that prompted the government to build the operator an expansive resort along 2km of beach. Hilton Worldwide will manage six properties in RAK by next year, including its new flagship Waldorf Astoria, and the emirate is fast becoming the latest luxury tourist destination in the region.

Elsewhere, Hilton was among the first hotel operators in Saudi Arabia, including launching in Jeddah in 2002, before the kingdom took active steps to boost tourism in the coastal city. It has plans to launch in Erbil, in Iraqi Kurdistan, in the near future, as well as in Uganda, Sharjah and Lebanon. And it is one of the few international hoteliers prepared to stick to its commitments in Egypt, where the company is pushing ahead with plans for several new hotels despite political uncertainty presently affecting the tourism industry.

In total, the company has 60 hotels across the Middle East and Africa, with a further 12,349 rooms in 35 properties under active construction, making it by far one of the fastest-growing hoteliers in the region.

According to consultancy STR Global, Hilton’s regionwide expansion accounts for more than ten percent of the entire MEA hotel pipeline.

And Hilton Worldwide MEA president Rudi Jagersbacher says there are even more new destinations in his sights — many that others are not yet even contemplating.

Article continued on next page

Join the Discussion

Disclaimer:The view expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by Arabian Business, its employees, sponsors or its advertisers.

Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

  • No comments yet, be the first!

Enter the words above: Enter the numbers you hear:

All comments are subject to approval before appearing

Further reading

Features & Analysis
How Dubai is helping Ireland's economic push

How Dubai is helping Ireland's economic push

Tourism is now Ireland’s second-largest industry, and is playing...

Over half of suppliers asked for bribes by hotel managers - survey

Over half of suppliers asked for bribes by hotel managers - survey

Nearly three quarters of suppliers said they know of other firms...

The new RNB stars

The new RNB stars

How Jason Myers, Gert Kopera and Christian Gradnitzer plan to...

Most Discussed
  • 14
    Baby NOT on board?

    The people commenting here were all 20 years old when they were born, never cried, never screamed and never ran etc etc.

    Thursday, 21 August 2014 8:30 AM - Amer
  • 7
    CEO of Just Falafel to step down

    Just Falafel was a disaster waiting to happen. The food isn't even that good and the focus wasn't on building the brand and operations. Instead they focused... more

    Thursday, 21 August 2014 8:37 PM - milad
  • 6
    Belgium diplomat arrested for pulling veil from Qatari princess

    If its illegal to dress in a certain way why didnt the police do something about it.

    Whereever the Europeans go, they demand that society conforms... more

    Thursday, 21 August 2014 8:37 PM - Ghazi