Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) is preparing for significant growth within the Middle East and Africa (MEA) announcing the signing of a 300-suite Marriott Executive Apartments and unveiling plans to open 17 new properties across the region this year. At present, the hotel company operates nearly 150 properties in the MEA region across nine brands in 19 countries. The latest announcements come during the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) taking place from April 26–28 in Dubai.
Along with the Doha Marriott Executive Apartments, due to open in 2019 and the first of its kind in Qatar, the company’s latest growth will also see its footprint increase in priority markets such as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. A collective 10 new properties representing 4,600 rooms are set to open across these two countries between 2016 and 2017. In Saudi Arabia in particular, the company has revealed that 21 new hotels with approximately 4,200 rooms have been slated to open by 2025.
“We have ambitious plans for growth internationally, and the Middle East and Africa will play a large role in helping us achieve both our short-term and long-term targets,” said Alex Kyriakidis, President and Managing Director, Middle East and Africa of Marriott International. “This year’s AHIC theme of ‘Eye on the Future’ is particularly timely as we feel that where there is change, there is also opportunity. What will determine success within the hotel and hospitality industry is the ability to capitalise on that change, identify the opportunities, and be nimble enough to leverage them.”
Marriott International has also set its sights on new geographies within the MEA region. The company anticipates its footprint to expand into eight new countries between now and 2025. This will include its first hotels in Iraq, Gabon, Rwanda, Tunisia, Benin, Kenya, Libya and Mauritius.
Capitalising on opportunities within the region, Marriott International has set a clear objective to be represented in all major gateway cities, commercial centers and established resort destinations while catering to a wide variety of market segments. Each of Marriott International’s brands, including those in the pipeline, target a specific segment and support the increased inflow of visitors within that segment.
Topics such as the evolving economic climate, the ever-changing geopolitical landscape, as well as safety & security will be front and center at this year’s AHIC, according to Kyriakidis who will be speaking live at the conference. The regional executive will be joined by Arne M. Sorenson, President and Chief Executive Officer, Marriott International, who will discuss the overall shape of the industry moving forward during a keynote session hosted via Skype and streamed at the conference.
The extended-stay segment as represented by expanding Marriott International brands’ Marriott Executive Apartments and Residence Inn, is also anticipated to be another key feature of this year’s AHIC agenda. According to Marriott International, which has been a long-standing leader in the extended-stay segment, new offerings are being designed for travelers who seek balance on the road along with large suites and upscale amenities. Today it’s not only the executive traveler who seeks out an extended-stay property, but also young families who are looking for a home-like environment where they can still experience the comfort and convenience that they would benefit from in a hotel, such as free Wi-Fi and complimentary breakfasts.
A large part of the company’s expansion will also focus on bringing the right people on board to deliver Marriott International’s vision within the Middle East and Africa. By 2018, the company is anticipating its team—individually known as Associates—to grow to 21,000 within the region. As part of its efforts to attract talent to the hospitality sector, Marriott International has supported career opportunities for Arab youth through initiatives that reshape conventional perceptions of the hospitality profession. This includes a recent partnership with INJAZ Al-Arab, the MENA regional office of Junior Achievement Worldwide, to launch the organization’s youth empowerment campaign ‘Expand Your Horizon’.
Note on forward looking statements: The anticipated growth of Marriott International’s hotel portfolio and the expected future hotel locations are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of U.S. federal securities laws, not historical facts, and are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, including supply and demand changes for hotel rooms; competitive conditions in the lodging industry; relationships with clients and property owners; the availability of capital to finance hotel growth; and other risk factors identified in Marriott International, Inc.’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K or quarterly report on Form 10-Q; any of which could cause the actual numbers or locations of new hotels to different. These statements are made as of the date of this press release, and we undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise them or any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
About Marriott International, Inc.
Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) is the world’s largest hotel company based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, with more than 6,000 properties in 122 countries and territories. Marriott operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts. The company’s 30 leading brands include: Bulgari®, The Ritz-Carlton® and The Ritz-Carlton Reserve®, St. Regis®, W®, EDITION®, JW Marriott®, The Luxury Collection®, Marriott Hotels®, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Renaissance® Hotels, Sheraton®, Delta Hotels by MarriottSM, Marriott Executive Apartments®, Marriott Vacation Club®, Autograph Collection® Hotels, Tribute Portfolio™, Design Hotels™, Gaylord Hotels®, Courtyard®, Four Points® by Sheraton, SpringHill Suites®, Fairfield Inn & Suites®, Residence Inn®, TownePlace Suites®, AC Hotels by Marriott®, Aloft®, Element®, Moxy® Hotels, and Protea Hotels by Marriott®. The company also operates award-winning loyalty programs: Marriott Rewards®, which includes The Ritz-Carlton Rewards®, and Starwood Preferred Guest®. For more information, please visit our website at www.marriott.com, and for the latest company news, visit www.marriottnewscenter.com and @MarriottIntl.