By Andy Sambidge
US hotel giant hails performance of hotels in Qatar but says Egyptian markets remains a challenge
Marriott International on Wednesday reported a positive start to 2014 across the Middle East and Africa (MEA) with a 2.8 percent increase in revenue per available room (RevPar).
The hotel giant said across its 154 properties in the region, excluding Egypt, occupancy rates rose by 4.2 percent compared to the same period last year.
Marriott highlighted the performance of hotels in Qatar which saw occupancy increase by nine percent to 70 percent in January compared to the year-earlier period.
In Egypt, the hotelier said it saw a dip in revenue resulting in reduced overall Q1 revenue of 0.6 percent.
Alex Kyriakidis, president and managing director of Marriott International, MEA, said: “A combination of increased travel across the region and new hotel openings has led to a positive start to the year for Marriott International.
"As we forge ahead our aim is to make sure we continue to provide the right hotels, in the right location, to meet the demands of both the business and leisure traveller.”
Referring to the dip in overall Q1 revenues due to the Egyptian market, Kyriakidis added: “Egypt, with seven hotels for us, continues to be a challenging market but we are hopeful that the recent elections will bring stability and ultimately safer travel and increased tourism.”
Marriott's current MEA pipeline stands at 161 properties, across 18 countries, offering a total of 23,701 rooms spanning 8 brands.
Earlier this month, Marriott International said it is set to sign a new partnership with Dubai’s Emirates Group and is already in talks to expand its recently acquired African-focused Protea Hotels brand into the Middle East.
Marriott already has a long standing partnership with Emirates, including managing the JW Marriott Marquis hotel in Dubai and providing hospitality for the carriers crew around the world, but the American hotelier is set to announce further ties with the group.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.