Dec 17, 07: French hotel chain Accor will manage 18 new hotels in the UAE within four years as the company continues its Middle East expansion to benefit from a regional tourism boom.
At present it operates three hotels in Dubai, one in Abu Dhabi and one in Al Ain, with a room inventory of about 2,550 rooms.
The company will be managing at least 23 hotels in the country by 2011 with a total room capacity of 9,220, Accor Hospitality Middle East managing director Christophe Landais told Gulf News.
Accor now has 15 hotels in the region and has contracts to operate 45 in the next three years.
"Thirty of these hotels are already under construction and we have contracts signed for the rest," Landais said.
The group signed a deal with Omani firm Al Mashriq Hotels and Tourism to manage a new 230-room Sofitel brand luxury hotel in Muscat. To be located on the Azaiba beach front, the Sofitel Muscat & Spa is scheduled to open in January 2011.
Sami Ahmad Macki, managing director of Al Mashriq, said Oman is ready for more upscale international hotel brands as the country´s tourism industry is "being promoted quite fiercely."
The first Sofitel in Muscat will be the sixth hotel of the luxury brand to be developed in the region, with other sites being in Dubai, Bahrain, Qatar and Al Khobar. There is a Sofitel at Deira City Centre in Dubai but that hotel will be rebranded in April following Accor elevating the Sofitel brand to luxury category.
Landais said the brand now comes with "high specifications" beyond the five-star category. As a result of Sofitel´s makeover, 80 out of 200 hotels operating worldwide under that brand name will be rebranded.
Pullman is the new five-star brand in Accor´s portfolio, which includes midscale and budget brands such as Novotel, Mercure, Suitehotel, Ibis, All Seasons, Etap and Formule 1.