Thu, 11 Aug 2016 - 02:17 GMT
Thu, 11 Aug 2016 - 02:17 GMT
Despite a series of setbacks to the tourism industry in recent years, Cairo’s city hotels are bucking the trend and not only managing to keep their heads above water, they are expanding and opening up new properties. Olivier Granet, Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of Accor hotels Middle East, came to Cairo in May to celebrate the signing of Accor’s sixth property in the capital.
by Farah El Akkad
Expected to open in Nasr City by 2019, the Novotel Cairo East will be an upper midscale property. The hotel will be the 15th in Egypt to operate under the Accor brand, which is pouring in LE 1 billion into the project. “Egypt is an important country, Accor has more than 35 years of presence and a long history in Egypt,” says Granet. “Accor has a network of 14 hotels presenting 4,000 rooms covering all market segments from economy to luxury. Today is a very important moment as this is hopefully the first step in a new phase of development in the country.”
The new hotel will be set on an area of 24,000 m2 and is planned to feature 350 spacious, contemporary rooms and suites, a 2,300 m2 conference center, a swimming pool, health club, and a spa.
The leading hotel operator has been developing hotels around the world for the past 45 years and runs more than 4,000 hotels in North Africa and the Middle East. The plan, Granet reveals, is to continue opening on average one hotel per month in the region, doubling the regional network by 2020.
Competitive markets in nearby Dubai and Turkey are already pulling in much of the investment, but Accor eyes Egypt as a strategic destination. “Hospitality and tourism are a very important part of the activity in Egypt and this property will provide international quality,” Granet says. “We believe this step will be a very good addition to the current market. We are strongly committed to this new development and we seek excellence and expansion because we are confident of our network in Egypt. With Accor’s distribution platform and capacity to bring guests from everywhere in the world, we hopefully will contribute to the development of tourism in Egypt.”
But in light of a series of serious blows dealt to the tourism sector, could Accor’s plans be overly confident when it comes to Egypt? Granet thinks not.
“Tourism will remain one of the main drivers of the Egyptian economy. We have confidence that Egypt’s economy will prosper. Looking at the future is about the fundamentals and the fundamentals of tourism in Egypt are good. The value of the culture and history of Egypt, and the attraction Egypt held for many people coming from everywhere in the world, which was the case in the past, will hopefully return very soon again. This is something we expect and we are pleased is part of our mission to contribute and to promote as a hotel operator. We expect that at the time the hotel will open, Egypt will be back to a more positive environment. We are talking about a large amount of investment which is a good target.”
Looking ahead, the new property is expected to contribute to the economy through job creation. “Egypt, with its distinctive geographic location, is full of promising opportunities for investment in different sectors specifically tourism which in turn has positive impact on the Egyptian economy,” says Minister of Investment Dalia Khorshid. “This developmental project will contribute to the tourism sector and will create job opportunities for youth.”
“We are thrilled with this new project that allows us to contribute in developing the Egyptian economy," says Yassine El Shukairy, Chairman of Al Yassin Holding for Financial Investment, which will be operating the Novotel Cairo East. "This project will increase the geographical reach of our projects across Egypt. With a total investment of LE 1 billion, it will create around 4,000 new job opportunities. We have great confidence in the Egyptian economy and are confident this particular project will open the door for many others to come. We are also confident that Accor Hotels is the ideal operator to manage this hotel with its pioneering experience in hotel management and hospitality know-how.”
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