VENTURES AFRICA – Egypt might still be deemed politically unstable but this has not put off Hilton Worldwide, the country’s largest hospitality provider, from signing a deal with Egyptian Touristic Resorts to open two new properties in the country – in Cairo and Alexandria. The agreement will expand the groups portfolio across Egypt to 20 properties.
The 390-room Hilton Giza Pyramids, which will include a large health club with a spa and an outdoor swimming pool, is due to open in 2016. It will be Hilton’s sixth property in Cairo, and is aimed at business and leisure travellers. The 195-room Hilton Alexandria King’s Ranch Resort will open in late 2013 and will house an indoor and outdoor pool.
Rudi Jagersbacher, president of Hilton Worldwide, Middle East and Africa, said: “The two signings will add significant value to our current, extensive network of hotels and reaffirm our position as the country’s foremost hospitality company,” said Rudi Jagersbacher, president of Hilton Worldwide, Middle East and Africa. “Hilton Worldwide has proudly served Egypt for over 50 years and today’s announcement is testament to our commitment and confidence in the country. The two signings will add significant value to our current, extensive network of hotels and reaffirm our position as the country’s foremost hospitality company.”
Tourism in Egypt has received a substantial boost in recent weeks. After a slow 2011 where tourism levels fell by 32 per cent, this year it is up 29 per cent after the pro-democratic Arab Spring movement and the election of new president Mohammad Morsi, which has been welcome by the World Tourism Organisation (WTO). In a statement, the WTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai said: “We will work together to encourage investment in all sectors, and restore the role of tourism for the benefit of the Egyptian economy and every citizen in Egypt.”
The Egyptian expansion is part of a new push from Hilton for growth in Africa and the Middle East. Earlier this month the hotelier announced plans to build a 300-room hotel in Erbil, Iraq by 2016. Egypt has been firmly planted in Egypt since the 1960s but clearly feels that more hotels are necessary. It is looking to double staff numbers in Africa and the Middle East as part of his expansion strategy. 41 properties are in the pipeline for the region.
Global hotel clientele research company, STR Global said the company’s expansion programme makes up 11.5 percent of the region’s entire hotel pipeline with 15,000 rooms under development. It also plans to launch into new markets, including Uganda.