The Ascott has continued its strong growth in the Middle East by inking contracts to manage its first two serviced residences in Al Khobar, one of the main metropolitan cities in Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich Eastern Province.
The 172-unit Ascott Corniche Al Khobar and 133-unit Somerset Downtown Al Khobar are slated to open in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
These latest contracts will increase Ascott’s presence in the Middle East to more than 2,300 apartment units across 16 properties in nine cities in Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.
Lee Chee Koon, Ascott chief executive, said: “Ascott started in the Middle East in 2006 with only 84 apartment units at a property in Dubai.
“Today, we have more than 2,300 units across 16 properties in the region.
“In addition to these two new properties in Al Khobar, Ascott will open seven more properties over the next three years, in Dubai in UAE, Istanbul in Turkey, Jeddah and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia and Muscat and Sohar in Oman.
“As we continue to see strong demand fuelled by the growth in domestic and regional business as well as leisure travellers, Ascott targets to more than double up our scale to achieve 5,000 serviced residence units in the Middle East by 2020.”
Several countries in the Middle East are taking steps to boost their economies.
Saudi Arabia, the largest economy in the Middle East, has opened its stock market to foreign investors.
In recent years, it has been diversifying its economy by investing in telecommunications, petrochemicals, natural gas and power generation sectors.
As more multinational corporations from these sectors expand in Saudi Arabia, it will generate demand for Ascott’s serviced residences.
Major infrastructure projects are also underway in Qatar and the UAE for the FIFA World Cup 2022 and the Dubai World Expo 2020 respectively.