By Harriet Sinclair
Hotel group's regional chief says significant number are planned in Saudi Arabia.
Hotel chain Best Western has announced plans to expand the brand and open 20 more hotels in the Middle East by 2015.
Of the 20 potential hotels, a significant number are planned for Saudi Arabia, where the company already has two hotels in the pipeline.
“In terms of growth, we want to take the brand as a whole up to 300 hotels by 2015, with about 60,000 rooms. If you look specifically at the Middle East, I’d say we could add another 20 hotels in the next five years,” said Glenn de Souza, Best Western International vice president of international operations for Asia and the Middle East in comments published by Hotelier Middle East.
“In the next five years we are going to focus definitely on Saudi Arabia — I think that’s where the money is to develop properties,” de Souza added.
In addition to the hotels in Saudi Arabia, the company plans to open two hotels in Bahrain during 2012 and will be opening an office there in the next 18 months.
The expansion plans follow a successful 2009 for the company, which continued to add new properties to its portfolio, despite the global economic downturn.
“Usually we bring in 20 new hotels per year. Last year we bought in 27 new properties [worldwide], in spite of the economic downturn. A lot of owners were looking for a brand for security and to drive their occupancy, so that was fortunate for us,” de Souza said.
The company will continue its expansion over the next five years, hoping to have 300 hotels by 2015.