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Podcast: Ludwig Bouldoukian on Hyatt's ME hospitality pipeline

EXCLUSIVE: Hyatt's regional vice president of development for the Middle East and Africa talks to CW about plans for 2020

Hyatt reveals plans to expand its hotel portfolio in Oman, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia
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Hyatt reveals plans to expand its hotel portfolio in Oman, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia

Hyatt's regional vice president of development for the Middle East and Africa, Ludwig Bouldoukian, has revealed to Construction Week details about the hospitality chain's plans for 2020, its Middle East hotel pipeline, and its lifestyle hotel in Dubai.

During the latest episode of the Construction Week Viewpoint podcast, Ludwig Bouldoukian, also discussed how far the hospitality giant has come since it opened its first Dubai hotel - the Hyatt Regency hotel - in 1981. Over the past 38 years, Hyatt has grown to manage and operate 24 hotels in the Middle East on behalf of owners and developers, including 18 full-service hotels and 6 select-service hotels

Bouldoukian, who sees "the start of a downcycle" in the Middle East region, also told Construction Week that the region has seen a surge in hotel construction during the last decade, but the market will need to slow down in terms of new projects.

This will bring to the forefront developers who are serious; who can deliver; who have the financial backing - the kind of developers that Bouldoukian says Hyatt wants to work with.

Commenting on the surge in demand for hotels in Middle Eastern countries, Bouldoukian said: "Oman is a market that we're looking at, and we've signed multiple deals in Oman. One of the projects that will open there is the Alila project in Salalah. We will have two offerings, including one mountain offering in terms of lifestyle, and one beach resort in Salalah.

"In Kuwait, as well, we're an increase in demand. We recently opened, this year, a Hyatt Regency in Al Kout Mall. The owners are also looking to open a Grand Hyatt in Kuwait.

"In Bahrain, hotel performance has been doing really well. This is one of the years that RevPAR has done really well compared to the past five years."

Hyatt is also looking at new projects in the UAE, as well as Saudi Arabia, which Bouldoukian refers to as a "sleeping dragon" because it is a market that has been sleeping for a while, but with the Vision 2030 is going to change completely.

In addition, Bouldoukian speaks about Saudi Arabia's megaprojects such as The Red Sea project and hints at talks with Qiddiya developers.

Construction Week Viewpoint is a weekly podcast series produced by the Construction Week editorial team and published on SoundCloud and iTunes at noon (GST) every Monday.

Business leaders are regular podcast special guests. The weekly bulletin has welcomed the likes of Grant Porter, CEO of the Middle East and Africa for Atkins; Anthony Taylor, head of real estate for ENBD-Reit; Lee French, Cundall Middle East’s operations director; and tech entrepreneur Karim Helal, co-founder and chief executive officer of building portal ProTenders.

To volunteer yourself or a colleague as a guest speaker on Construction Week Viewpoint, please contact Ashley Williams.

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