Breaking Travel News

Kempinski looks to Middle East growth

Kempinski Hotels is realigning its Middle East and Africa operations in response to impressive growth in the region. Under the new organizational structure, Mr. Ulrich Eckhardt takes the helm as President of Kempinski Middle East and Africa, supported by a number of senior management personnel responsible for regional territories.

Since Kempinski’s inception in region, Eckhardt has spearheaded the group’s development by collecting a portfolio of truly remarkable properties. Commenting on Eckhardt’s dedication and the reasoning behind the reorganization, Reto Wittwer, Kempinski CEO said, “Mr. Eckhardt has established this operation 10 years ago starting with Kempinski hotel, Ajman, and today it is the fastest growing region in the Company.  For this reason, we decided to develop a strong structure that would manage the demand, based on the knowledge and wisdom of the area they now possess.”

In synch with decentralization efforts currently being implemented worldwide, the region will be broken down into divisions under the guidance of Eckhardt. The Gulf Region including the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar, will be under the responsibility of Area Director Michael Henssler, based at Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates, Dubai.  Henssler will also oversee parts of the Southern African region including four upcoming projects in Namibia.

Middle East countries including Jordan, Lebanon and Syria are now under the responsibility of Area Director Mr. Duncan O’Rourke, based in Kempinski Hotel Ishtar Dead Sea, Jordan.

The greater African Region including Morocco, Egypt, Mali, Djibouti, Ghana, Tchad will be closely supervised by Eckhardt with several other locations in the pipeline; while Tanzania which is currently operating with two hotels and several more projects to come, will be under the responsibility of Area Director Ms. Lena Kasfiki, based in Dar Essalam.


The support team in Middle East and Africa region includes Roland Obermeier, Vice President Sales and Marketing; Samer Achcar, Director of Global Sales; Doaa Amin, Regional Director of Public Relations and finally Anna Maria Dreesen, Regional Director of People Management.

Eckhardt welcomed the new structure and promotion as a new challenge in his career, and said: “The region is developing rapidly and needs tremendous dedicated support to streamline the eleven operational hotels in the region in addition to about 30 new hotel projects opening in the next 3 to 4 years, currently in various stages of negotiation, planning or construction.”

According to Eckhardt, new hotel projects are negotiated and signed regularly in the Middle East and Africa. “We just signed five projects last August with NESCO Egypt for Tourism Investment S.A.E in Syria, Egypt and Morocco. This month, we signed three new projects in Jeddah, Beirut and Soma Bay at the Red Sea in Egypt.” he added.

Kempinski Hotels’ new project in Jeddah will start construction later this year, and consists of hotel building and serviced apartments. Owned by Mohammad Al Issa and Sons Company, the Kempinski-managed hotel will have 220 rooms, 50 to 60 furnished apartments located on the Cornish with prime sea front views. It is scheduled to open in 2009.

In Beirut, Kempinski Hotels is restoring a historical hotel building which was an iconic property in Lebanon 50 years ago.  Kempinski envisions the property to be its flagship in the country, and is aiming for no less than market leadership in Lebanon. Construction has already started middle of this year, and the hotel is scheduled to open by the end of 2009.

Another property in the finishing stages of construction is a magnificent beach front resort located at Soma Bay, Egypt, overlooking the Red Sea coast. A few minutes away from Hurghada International airport, and three hours to world famous city of Luxor, Kempinski Soma Bay Resort will have over 300 rooms and suites, as well as beach resort facilities. Construction has already started and it is scheduled to open mid 2008.