Swiss-Belhotel's first Saudi and Kuwait properties to open in 2018

The hotelier's expansion plans follow the regional push towards hospitality projects, despite schemes worth $81bn reportedly on hold in the Gulf

Hospitality development is on the rise in the Gulf despite reported project delays [representational image].
Hospitality development is on the rise in the Gulf despite reported project delays [representational image].

Seven Swiss-Belhotel International properties will be opened in the Middle East this year.

Among the Swiss-Belhotel hotel and resorts currently under development in the Middle East are its inaugural properties in Oman, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia.

Gavin M Faull, chairman and president of the company, said the next five years would see the hospitality chain accelerate its expansion plans across the world, with the Middle East being a key region of focus in the programme.

The hospitality chain will operate at least 20 properties in the Middle East by 2020, it was confirmed.

Swiss-Belhotel’s expansion plans are in line with the regional push towards hotel developments, despite a report that hospitality projects worth almost $81bn are currently on hold in the Gulf.

This April, BNC Network said that these on-hold schemes accounted for 55% of the 1,156 hospitality projects that are currently part of the regional development pipeline.

210 projects, worth $26.8bn, are in the planning, concept, or design stages, while 492 developments, worth $39.4bn, are in the tender ($4.5bn) or construction ($34.9bn) stages.

The 1,156 hospitality and tourism developments that are under way in the GCC have a combined value exceeding $147.1bn, as of March 2018, BNC Network revealed.

Local developers are also joining the race to build hotel properties, with Dubai-based Damac Properties announcing plans earlier this year to operate 15,000 keys by 2021.

The company’s hospitality arm, Damac Hotels and Resorts, already has 13,000 keys currently under development, according to Hussain Sajwani, chairman of Damac.

He said the expansion was being driven by Dubai's tourism ambitions as the city gears up to welcome more than 20 million visitors leading up to Dubai Expo 2020, Arabian Business reported.

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