DUBAI, United Arab Emirates—Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide announced that it will increase its Middle East and Africa (MEA) portfolio by more than 60 percent with nearly 50 new hotels set to open over the next five years, adding more than 14,000 guestrooms to the region. With over 20 hotels expected to open by the end of 2015, Starwood is on track to reach a milestone 100 hotels across MEA. F
“Starwood continues to see demand for growth of all of our brands across the Middle East and Africa despite economic and political uncertainty in some parts of this incredibly diverse region,” said Frits van Paasschen, president and CEO, Starwood Hotels & Resorts. “Rapid economic growth, rising personal incomes, a growing middle class and ever greater global connectivity are driving new travel patterns and demand for travel, and this region is at the center of these trends and a key focus of our growth strategy.”
With more than 70 percent of the world’s economic growth coming from fast-growing markets over the next few years, Starwood is focused on expansion in developing MEA markets such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Egypt, Senegal, South Africa and Nigeria. The company is also focused on growth opportunities in key emerging markets including Iraq, Pakistan, Angola, Ghana, the Ivory Coast, and East Africa.
By 2017, Starwood will operate more than 130 hotels in MEA, marking some key milestones, including: Portfolio growth of over 60% in the UAE with 12 new hotels, including six in Dubai; expansion across Saudi Arabia with six new hotels slated to open by 2015; re-entry of Starwood into Iraq with the milestone signings of three hotels across three brands in the city of Erbil; two new hotels in Nigeria; two new hotels in Algeria; and the launch of Aloft hotels in Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
This year, Starwood will also unveil a second St. Regis hotel on Abu Dhabi’s Corniche, making it the only city in the world to offer two St. Regis hotels. The brand will soon enter the Egyptian market with the opening of The St. Regis Cairo. The company also has plans to open six more W Hotels across MEA in key markets, including three in Dubai and one each in Abu Dhabi, Muscat, and Amman by 2017.
In addition to new hotel openings, Starwood is seeing increasing opportunities for hotel conversions in MEA. In the past ten months, Starwood has signed three conversion deals in the region, including Sheraton Dubai Mall of the Emirates, which opened last month.