Ritz Carlton sees major opportunities for growth in the Middle East

In an interview to ArabianBusiness, Pascal Duchauffour, Area Vice-President – Europe, Middle East and Africa for Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, singled out Riyadh and Jeddah as the two key destinations for the company’s further expansion in Saudi Arabia. The company, which on Sunday revealed details of a three-year global expansion plan, opened a hotel in Riyadh two years ago. However, Duchauffour said it was “actively pursuing” opportunities in Jeddah.

“Saudi is the biggest market you have in the Middle East.  Where it is today is: you have the business part of it, which is all your government and all your corporate. Then you also have the religious travel that you have taking place in Saudi. The potential is tremendous just because the size of the country, it’s economical power and the fact that not a lot of tourists has developed within Saudi.’ Duchhauffour added.

The Ritz-Carlton Company is planning an extra 20 hotels and resorts worldwide by 2016 – bringing its total portfolio to 105 properties around the globe. Among its projects, it planned a new hotel in Rabat, Morocco and Cairo, Egypt next year and resorts in Muscat, Oman and Tunis, Tunisia by 2015. It was also eyeing new hotels in Beirut, Lebanon and the Red Sea in Jordan, as well as other possibilities in Morocco and the North Coast. Duchauffour said the Middle East accounted for 20 percent of the company’s global revenue last year and it was a figure he expected would grow.

Ritz Carlton Herzliya, Israel – opening end 2013