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Swiss-Belhotel International has announced ambitious expansion plans with a strategic focus on Central and Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa. As part of the move the group recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Odyssey Group to support its expansion in Japan.

flydubai, the Dubai-based airline, has recorded an exceptional performance in the first quarter (Q1) of this year, building on the momentum from the tremendous performance in 2021. The carrier’s growing network and added capacity on its existing routes have been supported by new aircraft deliveries since the start of the year.

Union Square House, a multi-billion-dirham real estate brokerage in Dubai, is set to launch the first Metaverse mansions in the MENA region this year. The initiative comes at a time when Dubai’s public and private sectors are at the forefront of Web3 adoption.

Kerzner International Holdings Limited (Kerzner), the owner of the Atlantis Resorts and Residences, ultra-luxury One&Only Resorts worldwide, has assumed management of Bab Al Shams, Dubai’s quintessential desert resort, owned by Meydan. The resort will close for an extensive reimagination between May of this year and early 2023, reopening as part of Rare Finds.

Over three million passengers travelled in the first quarter (Q1) of of this yar through Sharjah Airport, witnessing an increase of 119,2 percent as compared to 1,3 million passengers in the same period in 2021. The aircraft movement for the same term also marked an increase in the number of flights by 89 percent with 21,336 flights, compared to 11,279 flights in 2021.

W Hotels Worldwide, part of Marriott Bonvoy’s portfolio of 30 extraordinary hotel brands, recently announced the opening of W Dubai - Mina Seyahi. Situated on the highly sought-after Jumeirah Beach coastline, the 31-story hotel boasts striking glass architecture with unobstructed views of the sun-soaked Arabian Gulf and Dubai’s iconic landmarks.

Revier Dubai, a four-star lifestyle hotel modelled as a meeting point for today’s gen-X while offering Swiss Hospitality in Business Bay, has recently appointed Mickael Chevalier as general manager. Chevalier joins the team with an impressive hospitality record of more than 27 years of progressive experience in luxury hotels in various countries.

Airport International Group announced that the low-cost carrier, Wizz Air, has recently commenced direct flights between Queen Alia International Airport (QAIA) and four European and Middle Eastern cities at a rate of two weekly flights per destination.

Travel Trade MENA speaks to Tim Cordon, senior vice president, Middle East & North Africa, Radisson Hotel Group, about the group’s regional growth and development plans.

Travel Trade MENA: Please tell us about the expansion plans in the region? What are the areas of focus for the next three - five years?

 Tim Cordon: With a global strategy aimed at reinforcing its position as one of the world’s leading hotel groups, Radisson Hotel Group signed more than 50 hotels in EMEA since the start of 2021, which includes luxury brand Radisson Collection properties, the Radisson brand itself, and the introduction of Radisson Individuals, the new affiliation brand that brings together hotels that meet the group’s high standards of quality and service, yet have their own characteristics. Today, with around 150 hotels in operation and development by 2030 in the Middle East, Radisson Hotel Group continues to steadily grow its presence in the region.

 The UAE remained a key market and included the opening of t our fourth brand - the Radisson Hotel Dubai DAMAC Hills - as well as the opening of Radisson Hotel Group’s first resort in the region, Radisson Resort Ras Al Khaimah Marjan Island, in addition to further expansion into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). We continue our extensive expansion this year with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and UAE being key market feeders and plans to reach 100 hotels in the Middle East by 2026.

 Travel Trade MENA: What openings have taken place, so far, this year?

 Tim Cordon: We recently welcomed our fourth brand to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with the opening Radisson Riyadh Airport, KSA, as well as two new hotels in Madagascar including Radisson Blu Hotel Antananarivo Waterfront.

We also brought the Radisson Individuals brand to Africa with the recent openings of the Radisson Marina Resort Port Ghalib, A Member of Radisson Individuals and Number One Oxford Street, A Member of Radisson Individuals.

 Mansard Riyadh, A Radisson Collection Hotel is the luxury lifestyle brand's second hotel in the city and will open this summer. The hotel's name comes from its distinct Mansard roofline, designed as an homage to the signature Parisian Haussmann style of the mid 1800s, and evokes images of the grand buildings which line the fashionable boulevards of Paris. The hotel offers 191 beautifully designed rooms, serviced apartments, and duplex villas.

 Further in line with our expansion plans in The Radisson Blu Hotel, Riyadh International Convention & Exhibition Center will be opening in the third quarter (Q3) of this year in Riyadh, KSA. The hotel will feature 223 rooms with spectacular views over Riyadh.

 We will also open our first beach resort, Radisson Resort, on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah in Q3. The 389-room new-build hotel will be the third property under the Radisson Hotels brand in the UAE. Located on the Jumeirah Shoreline, the Radisson Resort Dubai Palm Jumeirah will feature five food and drink outlets, including an all-day dining restaurant, and hotel bars with views of Dubai and the Gulf.  

Travel Trade MENA: How did the pandemic affect the group? What did you and your team learn from the pandemic times? And, looking back, what would you have done differently?

 Tim Cordon: The pandemic has highlighted the importance of sustainability and responsible business, as well as the need for the hospitality industry to work together.

 Radisson Hotel Group has made a strong commitment to decarbonise its business by setting ambitious emission reduction targets to be net zero by 2050, in line with the SBTi Net-Zero Standard, as the group released its 2021 Responsible Business Report.  Building on its long heritage as a leading sustainable hotel group, Radisson Hotel Group’s 2021 Responsible Business Report outlines its latest sustainability targets in line with its strategic five-year plan. These include its commitment to becoming net zero by 2050, to accelerating the implementation of the cross-industry Pathway to Net Positive Hospitality and Hotel Sustainability Basics initiative, and to reaffirming the group’s commitment to People, Community, and Planet as an award-winning employer.

 Travel Trade MENA: Tell us about Radisson Individuals? What is this brand about, and why was it introduced?

 Tim Cordon: We recently launched Radisson Individuals, a new brand as a result of the pandemic designed to enable independent hotels and local chains to benefit from being part of the global Radisson Hotel Group platform and international exposure. Reflecting the brand’s name, Radisson Individuals will showcase hotels selected for their distinctive character and personality. However, each property will also be expected to deliver the high service and quality standards of Radisson Hotel Group.

 The newest affiliation brand celebrates the individuality of each of Radisson Individuals’ hotels, bringing together hotels that meet the group’s high standards of quality and service yet have their own characteristics. The upscale hotels are located in renowned cities, close to airports and key business and leisure destinations. The brand gives hotels the opportunity to enhance their visibility and access a wider audience, while benefiting from IT and revenue platforms, comprehensive operation systems and the reputation of a hotel group that’s trusted by millions of guests worldwide.

 Recent Radisson Individuals openings includes the first two Radisson Individuals in Africa; Marina Resort Port Ghalib, a member of Radisson Individuals, Egypt and Number One Oxford Street Hotel & Suites, a Member of Radisson Individuals, Ghana.

 Later this year we Vivid Jeddah Hotel, A Member of Radisson Individuals, KSA opening in Q3.

 

The Future Hospitality Summit (FHS) will return to Saudi Arabia in a new format on May 24-25 at the Riyadh Airport Marriott Hotel.