UAE's Rotana outlines ambitious hotel expansion plan

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Rotana's hotel in Erbil, Iraq. (Photo for illustrative purposes only)

Rotana's hotel in Erbil, Iraq. (Photo for illustrative purposes only)

Omer Kaddouri, who took over as CEO of UAE-based hotel group, Rotana in January, has outlined an aggressive expansion plan which aims to have 100 properties operating by 2020.

The CEO, who was appointed after the company’s co-founder Selim El Zyr stepped down, said that the company plans to open 50 new properties across the MENA regioin in the next six years.

Speaking to Hotelier Middle East, Kaddouri said: “One of my wishes for the Middle East is that we have one of all of our brands in every major city in Middle East and North Africa. When we started up the company, the target was to have a Rotana hotel of some sort in every major city of the Middle East.

“Now that we've achieved that, we want to get to the next level, which is every brand of Rotana in every major city Middle East city. Probably by 2020 we’re going to be very close to that. We’re working very hard to ensure that all of our brands are in the right locations.”

Kaddouri added that the company will also focus on developing its mid-range portfolio to meet government requirements in the lead up to Expo 2020. Currently, five mid-tier Centro hotels are operating with 15 opening in various stages of development.

“The next Centro hotel is to open in Doha at the end of this year, then we have Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and we’re hoping that the Centro brand will develop very well in Africa as well.

“With expo 2020 coming up we’re seeing a lot of movement in Dubai and the government is looking for a lot more hotels so we have to play a big role in that. They are looking for more hotels in the three and four star category so we can fit that as well with our brands,” Kaddouri said.

Kaddouri was chief operating officer of Rotana for 16 years before taking on the role of CEO in January. His successor is Guy Hutchinson, ex-Hilton vice president, who took on the COO role in January.

The reshuffle underlined the company’s aggressive expansion plans which Kaddouri is set to take forward.

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