Starwood set for 2 new Four Points by Sheraton openings in Nigeria by 2015

Posted: March 20, 2013 in travel & tourism

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. announced Monday that it will increase its Middle East and Africa MEA portfolio by more than 60 per cent with nearly 50 new hotels set to open over the next five years, adding more than 14,000 guest rooms to the region while creating thousands of local employment opportunities.

Part of the expected growth drive will see an increased momentum in Nigeria with two new hotels under the company’s Four Points by Sheraton brand, in addition to the already opened Lekki, Lagos establishment which opened two years ago.

According to Starwood, the move is informed by the need to strengthen its position as the leading hotel operator across the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region with an existing portfolio of 82 hotels, representing nearly 22,000 guest rooms, the majority of which are operated under Starwood’s world-renowned Sheraton and Le Méridien brands.

With over 20 hotels expected to open by the end of 2015, Starwood is on track to reach a milestone 100 hotels across MEA. Further underscoring the importance of the region as one of Starwood’s fastest growing hotel and travel markets, earlier this month the company relocated its global headquarters from Stamford, Connecticut to Dubai for a month-long immersion.

“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 centre of these trends and a key focus of our growth strategy.”

With more than 70 per cent of the world’s economic growth coming from fast-growing markets over the next few years, Starwood said it is now 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 per cent in the UAE with 12 new hotels, including six in Dubai, bringing Starwood’s portfolio to more than 30 hotels across the country. Starwood’s growth plans in the UAE also include expansion into Sharjah and Ajman; Rapid expansion across Saudi Arabia with six new hotels slated to open by 2015 bringing Starwood’s portfolio to 15 hotels in this key developing market.

Addition of two new hotels in Algeria with a new Sheraton hotel in Annaba and Four Points by Sheraton in Oran; The launch of Starwood’s Aloft Hotels brand in Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Aloft will also open its second property in the UAE in the emirate of Sharjah.

In 2011, Starwood introduced its ultra-luxury St. Regis Hotels & Resorts brand in the region with the opening of The St. Regis Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi. This was followed by last year’s debuts of The St. Regis Doha and The St. Regis Mauritius, marking the entry of the brand into Qatar and Africa. This year, Starwood will unveil a second St. Regis hotel on Abu Dhabi’s vibrant Corniche, making it the only city in the world to boast two St. Regis hotels. The brand will soon enter the Egyptian market with the opening of The St. Regis Cairo.

“Our long-established presence, local teams, and strong relationships in the region remain a competitive advantage, and position us well to take advantage of the many opportunities for future growth,” said Simon Turner, President of Global Development & Acquisition, Starwood Hotels & Resorts. “We have a healthy pipeline of new hotels under development in the Middle East and Africa, and expect our growth to continue in 2013 as we look to expand in markets including the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria.

Earlier this month, Starwood President & CEO Frits van Paasschen and the company’s top executives relocated to Dubai where they have been conducting day-to-day business from this increasingly important global destination and travel hub. Following the company’s successful relocation to China in June 2011, this second leadership move reflects Starwood’s innovative management approach to cultivating a more global culture by understanding, appreciating and leveraging different societal perspectives and approaches to business and hospitality.

“With 80 per cent of Starwood’s pipeline coming from rapidly growing markets, it is simply not possible to lead a truly global business from a boardroom in Connecticut,” said van Paasschen. “Dubai epitomizes the changing face of travel, and we expect this relocation will deepen our relationships with partners, associates and customers. The insights that come from experiences like this move make us more agile in today’s rapidly changing world.”

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