By Sarah Townsend
Group president also reveals second opening in Egypt and plan to bring budget brands to GCC for first time
The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) branch of Louvre Hotels Group is close to signing agreements to open three hotels in Iran – its first foray into the market since international sanctions were lifted this year.
The group is in advanced talks with an Iranian investor to open a 300-room Royal Tulip-branded hotel in Tehran, MENA president Amine Moukarzel told Arabian Business this week.
The deal is expected to conclude in the next fortnight and the same investor - a “multipurpose Iranian company”, he said – wants a second hotel with Louvre, but likely outside of Tehran. The deals would represent the investor’s first foray into the hotels sector.
The group is also in talks to open a third hotel in Iran with a different investor, but those discussions are understood to be in the earlier stages.
“We have identified Iran as a strong, promising market that requires international [hotel] brands to build its reputation,” Moukarzel said.
He also revealed plans for a second hotel in Egypt, comprising 440 rooms in Cairo near the Pyramids. “We are in the final stages of signing this agreement,” he said.
Louvre group already has a 447-room Royal Tulip-branded hotel in Alexandria, Egypt, which it opened in 2013.
There are also plans to introduce the group’s budget brands, Premiere Classe and Campanile, to the GCC for the first time, Moukarzel revealed.
The group is targeting 20-40 new budget hotels over the next 3-5 years, with a focus on the UAE and Oman, he said.
“The midscale, midmarket sector is the golden class in MENA at present, which is good news for Louvre group.
“In Dubai and the UAE in particular, the travel pattern has changed and visitors are increasingly looking for cost-conscious, family-friendly options as they increasingly plan two holidays, not one, per year.”