By Andy Sambidge
Hotel group says it has objective to operate 15-20 ibis brand properties in Gulf kingdom
Accor Middle East said on Saturday it will be the first to introduce an internationally recognised economy brand in Saudi Arabia later this year.
The European hotel group said it has an objective to eventually operate a network of 15-20 ibis hotels in the kingdom.
Its ibis economy brand will debut in the country with the 176-room ibis hotel in Riyadh in December, followed by its 196-room ibis Yanbu in 2013.
In addition, three hotels are currently under construction or at design phase to bring Accor's Saudi network to a total of 17 hotels by 2015, the company said in a statement.
It said Ibis Jeddah Malik Road and Adagio Jeddah Malik Road will open by 2014 and Novotel Jizan by 2015.
Hot on the heels of a deal with Munshaat Real Estate Projects Company to launch the 1,315-room Zamzam Pullman Makkah, formerly Zamzam Grand, Accor also announced that it has also signed a management contract to develop a midscale hotel in Jizan.
Christophe Landais, managing director Accor Middle East, said: "The kingdom constitutes a strategic base for Accor to develop its world-class brands. The tourism industry in Saudi Arabia rapidly expands and our development plans reflect the growing demand for high quality hotels in this market."
Accor currently operates 12 hotels in the Gulf kingdom representing 3,346 rooms in six different cities under the brands Sofitel, Pullman, Novotel and Mercure.
Accor said it will also focus on the Holy Cities of Makkah and Madinah where religious tourism is growing.
Makkah will welcome over 10 million pilgrims per year and this number is expected to rise significantly in the upcoming years, due to the improvement of local infrastructures such as Jeddah Airport's renovation.