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Hilton to double its MEA and Turkey hotels portfolio in 5 years

  • Hilton plans to double its Middle East, Africa and Turkey hotels portfolio in five years

    Hilton, the New York-listed hotel operator, plans to double its portfolio of 169 hotels in Middle East, Africa and Turkey in the next five years with a sharp focus on expansion in the Arab world’s two biggest economies – Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

    “Last year, was a bit slow … in terms of the number of openings. [However] the good news is that we signed quite a few new hotels during the pandemic, showing the strength of our brand,” Jochem-Jan Sleiffer, Middle East, Africa and Turkey president for Hilton told The National on the sidelines of Arabian Travel Market on Tuesday.

    “When I look at the entire region … the opportunity is still there to double the number of hotels within the next three to five years.”

    The operator has boosted its pipeline of new properties to 173 hotels and the majority of them are under construction, Mr Sleiffer said.

    “Some of the openings, which were planned for this year will slip into next year. [But] we will see a big hike in 2022 and 2023,” he said.

    In the Middle East, Hilton currently operates 60 hotels and has 86 hotels in the development process. Its regional portfolio will more than double when the pipeline matures.

    In the UAE, the company has 30 hotels and 17 in the pipeline, while in Saudi Arabia, it has a portfolio of 14 hotels and a pipeline of new properties that is three times bigger.

    “We saw the demand before the pandemic and we see the demand now. The demand is huge,” Mr Sleiffer said. “We have 115 million Hilton Honours members and these people want to travel, they are actually desperate to travel.”

    Hilton has ambitious plans to expand in Saudi Arabia, a market that offers opportunities in both leisure and religious tourism. The kingdom is home to Islam's holiest sites, which before the pandemic annually attracted millions of pilgrims – a group that Hilton expects will continue to fuel demand for hotels.


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