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Bass Hotels&Resorts forges ahead with major regional development

The Middle East and Africa will continue to be a major growth area for Bass Hotels<.> & Resorts, as the company forges ahead with more…

The Middle East and Africa will continue to be a major growth area for Bass Hotels  & Resorts, as the company forges ahead with more  dramatic expansion of the Inter-Continental, Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn brands around the world.

The world`s most global hotel operator emphasised at Arabian Travel Market in Dubai that its development plans include many more new properties at prime locations across the region, and that expansion will be matched by measures to set new standards in hospitality, and facilities.

Currently operating 111 properties in the Middle East and Africa, with 25 under development, and more in the pipeline, Bass Hotels & Resorts will open five new Inter-Continental, four Crowne Plaza and twelve Holiday Inn properties by the end of 2002 in the region.

Speaking at a press conference on the second day of Arabian Travel Market, Dee Cayhill, Director of Communications, Bass Hotels & Resorts, Europe, Middle East and Africa, said expansions in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon, the UAE and Qatar reflect the company`s commitment to reinforce its presence in new and existing markets.

“The last year has seen tremendous growth for the company in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and we see the potential to double our portfolio of properties in the region by the year 2005 to 1,000,” said Cayhill.

“There have been a number of milestones in the last year. In April we announced our 500th hotel in EMEA- the Holiday Inn Thessaloniki in Greece. In the same month, we acquired the entire business of Posthouse from Compass Group PLC for £810 million. The majority of the Posthouse portfolio – which consists of 79 hotels in the UK and Ireland – will be rebranded as Holiday Inn properties, making the Holiday Inn name the leading midmarket brand in the UK.”

Magdi Samman, area director of marketing, upscale, Bass Hotels & Resorts, Middle East and Africa, said the company was looking to capitalise fully on its strength as a multi-branded hotel operator, while also highlighting the individual value of each brand.

“Our strategy is to give business and leisure travellers precisely the type of hotel they want, and the kind that suits their budget,” said Samman. “With Inter-Continental, Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn, we have something for everyone. Our guests know exactly what they are getting for their money, and that includes consistency from hotel to hotel, in each of the brands.”

Added Samman: “As our expansion continues, we`re taking enormous care to ensure that we not only maintain consistent service levels, but that we recognise, and cater to, the growing demands placed on hotels by today`s business and leisure travellers. That means implementing more, intensive training programmes to ensure that our staff, the people who make the hotels work, are thoroughly prepared to match, and exceed, our guests` expectations.”

Expansion in the Middle East and Africa will see landmark openings at a number of new destinations, including a first for the company in Tunisia where it will manage Inter-Continental and Holiday Inn hotels for the same owner. The Holiday Inn Resort Hammamet, featuring 23 suites, 235 double rooms, a 250-seat main restaurant, 120-seat a la carte restaurant and private beach, opens in July, followed by the Hammamet Inter-Continental Resort in December.

Impressive new Inter-Continental resorts will open at Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt and Taba Heights next summer, while another new Inter-Continental property follows in Makkah in Saudi Arabia in November. Plans are also underway for an Inter-Continental in Ghana, West Africa.

With five Crowne Plaza hotels currently under management in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Kuwait, Jeddah and Oman, the brand`s first new resort opens in Sharm El Sheikh this summer, while another Egyptian Red Sea resort property is under development at Abu Soma. New Crowne Plaza hotels are also taking shape in Beirut and Cairo.

Bass Hotels & Resorts is reinforcing the Holiday Inn position in the Middle East and Africa, with 14 properties under development, nine of these projected in Saudi Arabia and Egypt by the end of next year. Dubai`s second Holiday Inn hotel, the Holiday Inn Bur Dubai, also opens in August.

Qatar will also become a new Holiday Inn destination, with the 236-room Holiday Inn Doha opening in May 2002. Other Holiday Inn properties include the 150-room Holiday Inn Hafer El Batin, offering a coffee shop, a lounge cafe, and a fitness centre with rooftop pool, opening this summer; the Holiday Inn Resort Amphoras, Egypt, which opens in July; and the Holiday Inn Al Khobar, in Saudi Arabia, opening in September.

Theodore Koumelis
Co-Founder & Managing Director - Travel Media Applications | Website

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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