Marriott chief upbeat on Middle East prospects

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Marriott Hotels International.

Marriott Hotels International.

US hotel group Marriott International has announced that its properties in the Middle East and Africa achieved an 8.3 percent rise in revenue per available room (RevPAR).

The hotel operator said the revenues rise was driven predominantly by a 5.3 percent growth in occupancy last year.

Marriott's performance was boosted by three openings in 2012 - the Courtyard by Marriott Diplomatic Quarter, and Marriott Executive Apartments Riyadh Makarim, and the flagship JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai.

Marriott International's development pipeline in the Middle East and Africa continues to grow with the announcement of five new property signings, adding a further 1,027 rooms to its system.

They include the 186-room Rabat Marriott Hotel which will open in Morocco next year, while the 181-room Constantine Marriott Hotel in Algeria and 210-room Courtyard by Marriott Riyadh North in Saudi Arabia will open in 2015. It will also feature the 300-room JW Marriott Casablanca in Morocco and 150-room Lagos Marriott Hotel in Nigeria in 2016.

The new hotels will bring the total number of announced properties joining Marriott International's Middle East and Africa portfolio by 2017 to 48.

Alex Kyriakidis, president and managing director of Marriott International, Middle East and Africa, said: "These remarkable results clearly demonstrate the continued growth of the region's hospitality industry, with Marriott International's exceptional RevPAR and room occupancy rates making a significant mark in the sector.

"Our system continues to look better and better, and with these signings and more to come in 2013, Marriott International will be perfectly placed to accommodate the increasing number of visitors to the region.

"We also plan to hire over 21,000 associates over the next five years in order to meet the needs of our growing portfolio."

Marriott International's portfolio in the Middle East and Africa currently comprises 42 properties in 12 countries, offering 12,237 rooms across seven lodging brands.

In February, Marriott International, operator of The Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott brands, said it has $3.5bn worth of real estate currently under construction in the Middle East and Africa.

The US-based hotelier, which operates 3,800 properties in over 74 countries, is in talks with several investors to open new hotels in Saudi Arabia and will continue to grow its presence in the UAE, said Arne Sorenson, its president and CEO.

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