May 14, 08 | InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has signed an exclusive agreement with MAK Hotel Holdings, a member of the M.A. Kharafi Group of Kuwait, to develop an InterContinental Hotel in the Syrian capital.
Located in the city centre, the 370-room InterContinental Damascus, due for completion in 2010, will form part of the capital´s only integrated development which will include a shopping mall, cinema complex and office space.
Targeted at the luxury leisure traveller, InterContinental Damascus will be the perfect starting point for those keen to explore the areas historic sites, known to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.
John Bamsey, Chief Operating Officer, IHG, Middle East & Africa, commented: "The M.A. Kharafi Group is one of the largest Groups in the Middle East and we are delighted to be partnering with them on the InterContinental Damascus. Over the last few years we have witnessed a substantial increase in tourism levels to Syria; our aim is for IHG to be at the forefront of this demand for accommodation. When open, InterContinental Damascus will offer guests a luxurious and first-class place to stay while discovering this historically rich location; testament to InterContinental´s commitment to provide authentic and enriching destination experiences for all guests."
Mohamed Fahmy, Managing Director of MAK Hotel Holdings, commented: "This is an exciting development for our group and we are thrilled to be working alongside IHG to deliver an exceptional InterContinental branded hotel in the heart of Damascus. There is great investment potential throughout Syria and we look forward to expanding our portfolio within the region."
Incorporated in the design of the InterContinental Damascus are a number of world-class meeting rooms, specialty shops, health club and spa. The property will also feature the largest grand ballroom in Damascus, with capacity for 2,500 people. With other highlights including an all-day dining restaurant, three speciality restaurants and bar, the hotel is set to become a key attraction for both local and international travellers.
With tourism to Syria increasing rapidly and the Ministry for Tourism visitor figures indicating a 23 per cent growth in the first quarter of 2008, the Syrian Government has significantly increased spending on tourism, recognizing the pivotal role that it can play within the nation´s economy. As part of this spending, the Government has implemented a substantial marketing campaign, coupled with planned infrastructure, to improve leisure facilities across the country.
Currently there are 36 InterContinental Hotels and 10,900 rooms across the Middle East and Africa, with a further 11 properties and 3,488 rooms in the development pipeline.