Following its Starwood acquisition, the hotel chain is looking to cement its foothold in the region as Saudi Arabia prepares to open its doors to tourists.
It's in Saudi Arabia that one of the world's biggest hotel chains is gearing up for growth. Marriot International expects that by 2022 it will have nearly doubled the size of its operations in the Kingdom as domestic and international tourism in the country continue to grow.
Speaking to Reuters, Marriott’s Middle East president, Alex Kyriakidis, said that over the next four years, the hotel chain’s rooms in the country would grow to 12,500 from the 6,800 it currently has, with the number of hotels it operates also growing to 52 from the current23.
Marriott’s expansion in the Kingdom will cost $2 billion, he said and building the additional capacity is already underway.
Saudi Arabia is expected to begin granting visas to tourists from April 1 according to multiple reports. Among a number of plans to facilitate arrivals in the country, including airport and infrastructure upgrades, the country is planning to convert 50 islands off its Red Sea coast into a world-class tourism destination. The first phase of the Red Sea Project will be complete in 2022.
The Middle East is one of Marriott’s key revenue regions, the company’s global brand officer, Tina Edmundson, told CEO Middle East last month, and where it is intent on growing its interests.
The chain currently operates nearly 17 of its portfolio of over 30 brands in the region, including the Marriott, Ritz Carlton, Le Meridien and Sheraton.