|Arab News, Jeddah, Saudi
ArabiaMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
May 01, 2013--JEDDAH -- Saudi Arabia's Frontel for Hospitality Inc. will mark its Arabian Travel Market (ATM) debut this month as the group looks to take its growing portfolio of properties beyond the Kingdom's borders, with a strategic development plan for the Middle East.
Owner-operator of the recently renovated five-star Western Alharithia Hotel in Madinah, the company is keen to become the "operator of choice" for hotel owners and developers across the region, according to Rushdi Sherwani, director brand development, Frontel for Hospitality Inc.
"With three new group hotels set to open in the Kingdom in the next two years, we are also accelerating our development agenda for the region, and are also seeing growing interest from established markets such as the UAE, as well as from Iran and Yemen -- both of which are looking for professional operators to come in and help grow their hospitality base.
Frontel for Hospitality Inc. is also close to signing for three properties in Pakistan as the branded operator or on a franchise basis, having opened up negotiations for two of most significant hospitality landmarks.
The first is Karachi's tallest tower, which currently combines a hotel with a shopping mall.
The second is Karachi's largest hotel in terms of room inventory and the third property is in the industrial city Sialkot Pakistan.
"Showcasing our portfolio of properties at Arabian Travel Market presents us with an opportunity to meet existing partners as well as new potential partners," said Sherwani.
"ATM will also provide a platform for us to create awareness of the Frontel brand and our focus on quality. Moving forward, our strategy is to become a major hospitality player not only in the Kingdom but throughout the region," said Sherwani.
Frontel for Hospitality Inc. is already actively growing brand presence on its home turf, where it will launch its first Frontel property, the 1,350-key Frontel Village Hotel, Madina, in 2014.
Located just one kilometer from the city's key religious sites, and offering a choice of five-star accommodation and facilities housed in five individual seven-story towers, this will be followed in 2015 by the debut of a second Madina property.
The luxurious 650-room Frontel Hotel Al-Baiya will be situated in the heart of the city, and comprises two 10-story towers, with a footprint of 6,500 square meters, but affording 65,000 square meters of hotel space.
Expansion into the burgeoning mid-market hotel sector is also part of the company's development vision, and it will launch its first three-star property in Jeddah in 2016, with the opening of the Frontel Business Hotel under the branding of 'Frontel Eco'.
"Infrastructure growth within the Kingdom has created a wave of interest and investment into new tourism and business travel facilities, and during the ATM week we will be meeting with Haj and Umrah travel companies and other tour operators from the UAE, Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, to sow the seeds for future partnerships to support forecasted demand," said Sherwani.
Sherwani said some 381,000 new hotels rooms are expected to be added to Saudi Arabia's existing inventory by 2015, representing a 63 percent increase on 2010 figures.
Inbound visitor arrivals are also forecast to grow from 13 million in 2010 to 15.8 million by 2014, with the kingdom focusing its efforts on providing the necessary travel infrastructure to boost domestic, Haj and Umrah, and the fledgling inbound tourism sector, as it allocates $ 500 million to airport expansion and $ 7 billion investment into the new Jeddah airport.
(c)2013 the Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
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