By Sara Anabtawi
Selim El Zyr says three properties in design phase, construction in Syria and Egypt has slowed
UAE-based hotel firm Rotana has signed agreements in Turkey, Iraq and Mauritania, as it bids to expand its offerings throughout the Middle East region.
“We signed an agreement for a new resort in an area in Turkey called Iskenderun. We lately signed for a hotel in Sulaymaniyah in Northern Iraq. We have also signed new property in Mauritania,” Rotana president and CEO Selim El Zyr told Arabian Business.
The three different properties are now in the design phase.
“We have expansion plans in many other countries, but those are still in the negotiation phase. We cannot announce anything before we sign an agreement,” he added.
The hotel group has previously slowed down construction of hotels in Syria and Egypt, but has no set date as to when the pace will pick up again.
“In Syria today, projects are not on hold, they are still being built but under a different pace. There is still activity in construction, but no speed,” said El Zyr.
He added that it is very difficult to predict when projects will pick up.
“There is no completion date…Who knows with the circumstances, it is very difficult to predict,” he said.
Hotels in both Syria and Egypt have impacted the company’s profitability.
“We have six hotels [four in Egypt and two in Syria] that are directly impacted by the Arab Spring. The contribution of these hotels in the company’s profitability is almost zero because of the problems,” said El Zyr.
“Some other markets kicked in, such as Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar. All these countries have done better in 2011, so this has compensated,” he added.
Baghdad needs at least one Rotana hotel...!