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HomeHotels & LodgingCristal Hotels and Resorts to join KSA hospitality expansions
Saudi tourist arrivals predicted to grow 5 per cent

Cristal Hotels and Resorts to join KSA hospitality expansions

Business intelligence firm Business Monitor International (BMI) forecasts tourist arrivals in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) to grow 5 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) to 12.91 million in 2010. Influx is expected to grow further by an average of 6.5 per cent y-o-y through 2014, driven by the Kingdom’s growing popularity among religious and business travelers.

Cristal Hotels and Resorts, one of the fastest-growing hotel chains in Abu Dhabi, has confirmed plans to expand in the KSA. The expansion plans in the Kingdom that will encompass the following cities, Riyadh, Jeddah, Khobar and Mecca to keep pace with various entry activities being witnessed within the country’s rapidly growing hospitality and leisure sector.

The announcement is in line with Cristal’s broader Middle East expansion plan, which has already helped the company emerge as a leader in Abu Dhabi’s hospitality market since its opening in July 2009. Cristal notes that it is being encouraged to enhance its Saudi presence due to the government’s focus on tourism as part of its comprehensive diversification agenda.

“Saudi Arabia is home to two of Islam’s holiest cities and several historic sites and is also either a base or a stopover for numerous multinational corporations. These have combined to turn the Kingdom into a major tourism hub. We intend to apply our formula for successful entry into other key Gulf countries such as Qatar to this very promising market. One area we will focus on is to encourage Saudi nationals, who are consummate travelers, to consider taking their vacations in their own homeland instead,” said Peter Blackburn, CEO, Cristal Hotels and Resorts.

The Saudi Government is keen on developing its domestic tourism market, given that citizens spend millions on their annual travels abroad. The number of Saudi Nationals travelling abroad is expected to rise from around 8.07 million in 2009 to almost 11 million by 2014. Several international hotel chains opened their first hotels in the country last year in recognition of the local travel market’s huge potential.

Cristal Hotels and Resorts recently announced that it achieved one of the highest month-to-date occupancy rates among Abu Dhabi’s 4-star and 5-star hotels in January of 2010, recording an 84 per cent average occupancy for the month. It recently announced its expansion plans into Qatar and is currently eyeing additional strategic locations within the region.

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