InterContinental Hotels Group has appointed a new Vice President of Development, Middle East and Africa, Phil Kasselis to drive the continuing expansion of the Group’s hotel brand portfolio in the region. Kasselis’ role includes securing new management contracts, franchises and joint venture opportunities to grow the Group’s InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and Express by Holiday Inn brands.
“In moving to the Middle East, Phil is embarking on an exciting phase in our company’s growth. We have undertaken to add 50,000-60,000 rooms on a net and organic basis to the Group’s global portfolio of branded hotels within the next three years, much of which is expected to come from the Middle East & Africa,”
said InterContinental Hotels Group Regional Chief Operating Officer, Chris Moloney.
Kasselis’ arrival comes at a time where the Middle East is experiencing unprecedented growth in hotel development activity. With over 55 hotels and more in the pipeline, IHG is well positioned to grow its presence in the region which, according to the WTO, is now the fourth most visited region in the world. The Group has recently opened the InterContinental Taba Heights Resort, Egypt and Holiday Inn Downtown Kuwait, the Group’s second Holiday Inn property in the country. New hotels for the Group during 2006 and 2007 include the Holiday Inn in Sharjah, which welcomed its first guests this month and the InterContinental Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia, while the InterContinental and Crowne Plaza hotels are under construction at Dubai Festival City.
‘While my role is focused on growth, we will continue to establish the right brands in the right locations,’ Kasselis explained. ‘We are not interested in simply raising flags; rather, our expansion strategy is first and foremost about being true to our hotel brands, driving returns for our owners and delivering on our promises to our guests.’
Phil Kasselis has 23 years of diversified experience in hotel operations, consulting, hotel development and the brokerage of major hotel transactions with companies including Horwath Asia Pacific, Accor and Knight Frank. He has relocated to Dubai following six years with IHG, based in Sydney as Director of Development for the Australia, New Zealand & South Pacific region.