Starwood operations in the Middle East have experienced phenomenal growth, doubling its portfolio from 25 to 48 hotels. In the United Arab Emirates the number of Starwood properties has increased from seven to 19 hotels and in Saudi Arabia, the Le Meridien brand doubled Starwood’s properties from five to ten.
The acquisition has also given Starwood a presence in new markets, such as Medina and Al Taif in Saudi Arabia; and Lattikia in Syria, where they previously had no properties.
Further expansion in the Middle East will take place with the opening of the 198 room Sheraton Aleppo, scheduled to open in Syria in October 2006. Le Meridien Karachi, Pakistan (320 rooms) and Le Meridien Towers Makkah (1320 rooms) are both due to open in 2007.
“Starwood enjoys a longstanding history of success in the Middle East that goes back more than 40 yearswith our Sheraton brand.” comments Guido De Wilde, Vice President, Regional Director for Starwood hotels in the Middle East.
He added “we have developed a strategy that is based on expanding and diversifying Starwood’s regional brand portfolio in key growth locations. This strategic vision has positioned us as the largest and only hotel operator having presence in virtually every single major market throughout the Middle East”.
According to the global hotel performance data for 2005 from the HotelBenchmark Survey by Deloitte, the Middle East region was the top performing tourist region for the second year in row with an impressive 21 per cent growth in revenue per available room (revPAR),
World Travel Organisation’s forecasts state that international tourist arrivals to the Middle East are expected to increase to 68.5 million in 2020. This represents an annual growth rate of 7.1 per cent over the period 1995-2020, which is above the global growth rate of 4.1 per cent.
“The region’s dynamic development including the unprecedented economic boom, high population’s growth rates, along with its emergence as a major business and leisure destination make it an attractive growth opportunity for us.” concluded De Wilde.