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naseba interview with Laurent A. Voivenel of HMH in the occasion of upcoming 16th Edition Hospitality Expansion Middle East

Hospitality Management Holdings is on an expansion spree across the Middle East and North Africa. While keeping an eye on value oriented and disciplined approach, HMH is hoping to boost its existing portfolio by 25%. Laurent A. Voivenel, Chief Executive Officer, HMH – Hospitality Management Holdings speaks to naseba prior to his scheduled appearance at the upcoming 16th Edition Hospitality Expansion Middle East in November this year at the Park Hyatt Dubai. At the summit, he is presenting his views on the big picture for the hospitality industry in the Middle East leading up to 2020 and beyond. Which is the strongest focus area for HMH in the GCC? Can you share some latest development plans of your organization? We wish to grow the path according to our strategic plan that is sustainable in a physical sense. The GCC, with a special focus on the UAE and KSA, is central to our expansion strategy. By 2020 our aim is to have a hotel in every GCC country while doubling our portfolio in the UAE. Soon we will be expanding our presence in Dubai, Muscat, Beirut, Khartoum and Port Sudan with five new hotels opening in quick succession that will boost the existing HMH portfolio by 25%. We also have a strong interest in the booming Asian markets such as India, Indonesia, Malaysia and China. Has the regional instability affected your business plans? How are you coping with them? The Middle East is entering a new era of stability with increased connectivity and expansion of existing infrastructure. The scale of opportunity in the region for hotels especially in the budget segment is unprecedented. The region is seeing strong economic and tourism growth. Current estimates suggest that over the next 20 years, upwards of $3 trillion will go directly into leisure and tourism and indirectly into the supporting infrastructure. Through projects announced to date, by 2020 the region will add airport capacity for 300 million extra passengers, build over 200 new hotels, add 100,000 additional rooms, grow visitor numbers to 150 million, and increase the size of its aircraft fleet by over 150% by 2025. With the leisure and business travel sectors both set to double in size, the region’s forecasts suggest annual travel and tourism revenues could increase 89% over the next 10 years. At HMH we are eager to capitalize on this buoyant scenario. Our carefully segmented brands from budget to luxury offer excellent investment opportunities. With a value-oriented and disciplined approach our objective is to unlock HMH's full potential while maximizing operating performance of each and every asset we put our name to. Do you think mid-market hotels are the way to go in the build-up for 2020? Existing hotel stock in the Middle East, including the UAE, is predominantly geared towards luxury and up-market accommodation leaving a huge gap and opportunity for budget hotels that we are keen to develop. Dubai has announced plans to accelerate the development of mid-market hotels in order to fulfil the demand created by Dubai Expo 2020 as well as widen its appeal to expanding middle class worldwide and HMH is a key player in the region in the segment. We are now looking to position ECOS Hotels, a 'no frills' B & B brand in view of the growing demand for budget hotels. Tourism sector is recognized as a significant driver of Dubai's GDP. And with as much as 24,000 upcoming hotels and serviced apartments in next three years, do you think these new projects will give due prominence to sustainability? Dubai no doubt presents the most fertile ground for any new hotel development and has the largest number of rooms under construction in the region. According to Dubai Department of Tourism and Marketing, there are currently more than 88,000 hotel rooms in Dubai which may reach 160,000 by 2020. The outlook for inbound travel looks extremely promising with strong growth forecast. Dubai’s Vision 2020 growth plan calls for 20 million annual visitors by the year 2020. The key contributors being existing and emerging markets that are showing solid growth driven by dramatic increase in first-time travellers from the new middle class, expansion of airlines especially low-cost carriers, new airport facilities and continued dominance of online and mobile bookings. What are your expectations from Hospitality Expansion Middle East? There are many interesting developments shaping the hospitality and tourism landscape in the region. Projects are increasing in size, complexity, risks and costs. At the same time clients are demanding much more. These changes are creating both challenges and opportunities for all of us. Conferences such as Hospitality Expansion Middle East are excellent platforms to have open discussions with other experts as well as debate pressing issues. It offers a great setting for sharing new ideas by juxtaposition of existing and future frontiers. Our industry requires collaborative solutions. The only way to achieve success is if investors, developers, operators, hoteliers and policymakers work together to address the critical issues on the table. Source: naseba Read more news related naseba published at Infurma
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