By Claire Valdini
Hilton Erbil Hotel & Spa will have 300 rooms and is due to open in 2016
Hilton Worldwide, a unit of Blackstone Group, has agreed a deal with Mihtab Group to develop its second hotel in Erbil, Iraq’s fourth-largest city.
The 300-room Hilton Erbil Hotel & Spa, scheduled to open in 2016, will tap into growing demand for leisure and business in Iraqi Kurdistan, the firm said.
Hilton, which is also developing a 200-room Hilton DoubleTree Suites in Erbil, is part of a growing number of US hotel operators and developers betting on growth from businesses expansion and an eventual pickup in leisure travel to the region.
Best Western has planned two hotels under its Premier brand while Marriott International plans to launch two hotels in Erbil. The Kurdistan region is attractive for hospitality projects due to its security situation, which has markedly improved in contrast to other parts of Iraq.
Last month, Emirates Airline announced that it would begin servicing the city.
Hilton is ramping up the number of properties in the Middle East. The operator in March said it has 41 properties in its active pipeline for the region and plans to double its number of employees in the region from 16,500 over the next four years.
The US-based operator’s expansion programme comprises 11.5 percent of the entire MEA hotel pipeline with 15,000 rooms under development, according to STR Global research.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.