The Middle East market has returned to pre-September 11 levels and is set to strengthen in 2008, according to Four Seasons vice president sales and marketing Europe, Middle East and Africa David Crowl.
"The Middle East offers incredible destinations for leisure guests, like Damascus or Egypt, but also the capital markets in Qatar," he said.
"Saudi Arabia is opening itself up to broader markets - major financial institutions are now able to form their own identities in the Kingdom and expand and grow. The economies are obviously tied to the energy sector, but we are seeing the governments diversifying their business, and this is very healthy for our business and for the region."
Crowl said he was "very upbeat" about Four Seasons' performance in 2008, because of the "dynamic" regional economy, and the manner in which the product has been embraced by the Middle East market.
"People weren't sure if the concept would work, but we were pleasantly surprised once we opened," he explained.
"We benefited from the international aspect of the brand, where we have a very diverse customer base from North America and Europe that was coming in. What has gained traction in the last few years has been intra-regional travel, which takes us to the year 2007 where we are finishing up our best year ever."
In addition to the company's existing portfolio in Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Qatar, Four Seasons was also looking to develop sites in Kuwait, Bahrain and a second property in Doha, Crowl said, adding that it would also recommence construction of a hotel in Beirut.
"The bottom line is that we are very committed to the region as a company; it's very important to us and to our target market," he said.For all the latest travel news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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