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Emaar Hotels reveals wide expansion plans

Mark Kirby, CEO of Emaar Hospitality Supplied/Emaar
Mark Kirby, CEO of Emaar Hospitality
  • Interest from ‘key’ cities
  • London, Paris, Rome on list
  • ‘Huge potential’ in Morocco, Egypt

Emaar Hospitality Group is talking to investors in Europe, the Middle East and China to expand its footprint regionally and internationally.

The Dubai-based company is behind iconic names such as The Address Hotels & Resorts, Vida Hotels, Palace Hotels & Resorts and Armani Hotels & Resorts.

Mark Kirby, head of hospitality at Emaar Hospitality, told AGBI the company was receiving interest from “key cities” including London, Paris, Rome and Milan.

“There’s a lot of people still wanting to develop in those cities,” he said. “We are having a number of conversations with investors and we’re having those conversations pretty deeply now.”

Kirby said there was huge potential in Morocco and in Egypt, where the company is investing heavily in Marassi, a luxury tourist resort on the north coast of the country.

Since 2006 Emaar Properties has invested more than $3.5 billion in Egypt on hotels, residences, an 18-hole golf course and the country’s largest marina. 

In February the Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund ADQ unveiled plans to invest $35 billion in Egypt which included the development rights for Ras Al-Hekma, along the coast from Marassi, to develop the region as a Mediterranean holiday destination.

Emaar Hospitality is also interested in China, Kirby said. “China is an incredible market, of course.

“I think if you enter China, we’d have to look at AAA locations. We’d have to be in a central location.”

In 2023 Emaar’s hospitality, leisure and entertainment divisions recorded a growth in revenues of around 20 percent compared to 2022, reaching AED3.4 billion ($900 million). 

The company’s UAE hotels increased average occupancy to 72 percent last year. Revenue per available room was up 6.5 percent in the first quarter of 2024.

Kirby said almost 50 percent of the company’s business comes from the GCC. Last month Emaar Hospitality opened its 25th hotel, Palace Creek Harbour, its third Palace Hotel and fourth hotel in that area of Dubai.

Vida Dubai Mall is due to open this year, as is a new Emaar hotel in Sharjah and a property on Ras Al Khaimah’s Al Marwan Island.

The company is also in the process of designing an Armani Hotel in Saudi Arabia’s $63 billion giga-project Diriyah Gate.

“There’s a lot around us that continues to be our focus overall in the future,” Kirby said.

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