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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.


Q&A with Petra Hedorfer, chief executive officer, German National Tourist Board (GNTB)

Assessment of the current situation in inbound tourism and a look ahead to the future of travel to Germany

Kratinos Socratous talks to Travel Trade Weekly about the Football Escapes Academy at Parklane a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Limassol.

Travel Trade Weekly: Can you tell us how the Football Escapes Academy was initiated for the hotel?

Kratinos Socratous: The idea goes back to 2016 when one of the founding members and shareholder of Football Escapes (FE), Bobby Zamora shared his vision with me, which resulted in the Parklane becoming one of their launch partners in the luxury hotel sector. For the record, FE’s shareholders also include former Manchester United and England captain, Rio Ferdinand, who was one of the legend coaches at the Parklane in the Summer 2019 season.

Travel Trade Weekly: Who are the legendary coaches for the academy and what will their roles be?

Kratinos Socratous: The forthcoming Summer 2020 season will be the second year of our partnership with Football Escapes and will feature the former English Premier League football legends, Jermaine Jenas, Jack Wilshere, Wes Brown, Dimitar Berbatov, Michael Owen, and Danny Murphy.

Travel Trade Weekly: What are the facilities for the academy and what will be on offer?

Kratinos Socratous: Each FE academy week at the Parklane, costs EUR500 (GBP450) per child 5-15 years of age. The package includes the following: two hours per day for five days (Monday to Friday) training with a legend star, as well as two-three EPL professional academy coaches, one branded kit consisting of a shirt, shorts and socks with the child’s name and preferred number printed on the back, a medal and certificate at the end of the coaching week, together with commemorative photos with the featured star and accompanying coaches.

Travel Trade Weekly: If someone is interested, what would the booking procedures be to participate?

Kratinos Socratous: Once the accommodation reservation is made through one’s preferred travel agent or direct with the hotel, then the parents need to visit in order to book their child’s coaching week at the Parklane. The FE academy is available exclusively to children staying with their parents at the Parklane, i.e. non-residents of our hotel may not participate.

Travel Trade Weekly: What are the dates for the programme?

Kratinos Socratous: April 06 – 10, 2020 – Jermain Jenas | May 25-29, 2020 - Jack Wilshere | July 27-31, 2020 – Wes Brown | August 03-07, 2020 – Dimitar Berbatov | August 10-14, 2020 – Michael Owen | October 26-30, 2020 – Danny Murphy

Travel Trade Weekly: Is there anything further you would like to add?

Kratinos Socratous: Football Escapes at the Parklane is limited to 60 children per week, so for those parents who wish to surprise their children, they are best advised to book early so as to avoid any unnecessary disappointments!


Abdul-Razzaq Iyer talks to Travel Trade MENA about the evolution of the travel industry as well as Sabre’s new products.

Adam Harvey talks to Travel Trade MENA about the unique product of Al Habtoor City and what it has to offer.

Thomas Grundner talks to Travel Trade MENA about hotel upgrades, hotel openings and environmental initiatives.