Saudi ministry studying steps to increase private sector’s role in urban development

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DUBAI: German hotel giant Deutsche Hospitality, which operates Steigenberger Hotels under its umbrella brand, plans to expand its offering in the Middle East this year with the addition of four new hotels under different brands.

“We plan to double the number of rooms we manage in the region by the end of the year,” said Siegfried Nierhaus, vice president of Deutsche Hospitality Middle East. “The demand for luxury, even during and post COVID-19, has always been very strong, especially in the Middle East.”

Early this year, the company signed a memorandum of understanding with the Tourism Development Fund of Saudi Arabia to launch and develop its new ultra-luxury brand in the region: Steigenberger Porsche Design Hotels.

“We are actively working with our partners to select the best location and develop the hotel project,” Nierhaus told Arab News.

“Consumers are increasingly choosing experiences over things, and Steigenberger Porsche Design Hotels is the only brand that combines the distinctive Porsche Design lifestyle with a Steigenberger hotel’s hospitality and service quality.”

First order of business

Offering a minimum of 150 rooms, suites, and penthouses, the hotels will include a restaurant and lounge concept, exclusive meet-and-greet areas, and state-of-the-art health and beauty facilities, including a gym and wellness area.

Guests will also benefit from an individualized journey at every touchpoint, driven by the hotel’s focus on hyper-personalization, innovation, and a functional approach.

“With international and domestic travel back on the rise, we are eager to present more unique experiences through our eight brands in more quality locations across the UAE, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and beyond,” he said. “The region has bounced back extraordinarily, and we look forward to welcoming more guests into our various properties.”

His optimism is grounded in data. According to a Hotel Tech Report released this year, the travel and hospitality industry understandably turned upside down during the pandemic; global revenue for travel and tourism fell by an estimated 34.7 percent to about $447.4 billion in 2020.

Now compare this with the original 2020 forecast was $712 billion in revenue. However, the figures are quickly recovering, particularly in the luxury hospitality sector.

Deutsche Hospitality operates 23 properties in the Middle East and North Africa region, with expansion plans mainly in the luxury hospitality category.

According to Nierhaus, Middle Eastern hotels get most of their traffic from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, India, Germany and Eastern Europe.

“Once China opens again, we believe that we will welcome back many Chinese customers,” he added. “The Middle East is a focus for our company, and we have, in Dubai, a full-fledged office with regional experts to support the development.”

By this year, the brand will open doors to two new properties: Al Hamra Residence and Al Hamra Village Hotel in Ras Al Khaimah, and IntercityHotel Muscat, Oman, with plans for two more. In addition, Saudi Arabia is on the radar as a fresh territory.

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is one of the focus development areas for our group with many opportunities. The 2030 Vision is ambitious, and we would like to play our part in it with our hospitality expertise and global reach,” he said.

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