Choice Hotels International has signed a master development agreement with Equinox Ventures, a joint venture between Equinox Group Ltd. and Al Tayyar Travel Group, to introduce and develop three of Choice's most brands—Clarion, Comfort and Quality—across the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
This announcement, Choce's fifth EMEA market portfolio expansion in the past six months, is part of Choice's strategy to continue to expand its brands internationally.
Choice is looking to tap into the a Middle East travel industry that is forecasted to rise to $98 billion by 2017, according to Phocuswright. As Choice pointed out in its release, "With an emerging middle class looking to travel both within the region and internationally, and an increase in inbound business, leisure travel and tourism, there is growing demand for mid-market and budget accommodations as well as a continued desire for upscale brands."
Shuja Zaidi, President of Dubai-based Equinox Group Ltd. said, "Currently, markets such as Dubai, Riyadh, Jeddah and Makkah are undersupplied in mid-market hotel accommodations, providing an opportunity for a strong hotel brand such as Choice to bring its portfolio to the market. We believe that the next wave of growth and expansion in our region belongs to the mid-market segment. To prepare for it, it was only natural that we partner up with one of the largest and most globally recognized brands with a portfolio that spans from mid- to upscale properties and can offer travelers what they need."
Abdullah Aldawood, CEO and Managing Director of Altayyar Travel Group said, "Our cooperation with a global player like Choice will help us close the gap in our efforts to integrate all parts of our travel business. We had started with the acquisition and development of hospitality assets and asset management and are now ready to roll out globally recognized brands in the region, working closely with our partners to bring their expertise and regional knowledge."
The master development agreement is anticipated to deliver approximately 25 hotels and 8,000 hotel rooms for Choice's portfolio in the UAE and Saudi Arabia by 2021.
"We are delighted to sign this agreement with Equinox Group and Al Tayyar Travel Group that will help Choice establish a presence in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and also offer a platform for rapid expansion. Drawing on their regional expertise and infrastructure, we are perfectly placed to provide travelers with the quality mid-market hotel accommodations they need, all backed by Choice's global hotel platform and brand reputation for value and service," said Mark Pearce, senior vice president, international division, for Choice Hotels.
This agreement is the fifth EMEA market portfolio expansion Choice has announced in the last six months, having signed agreements related to the co-branding of 19 properties in Germany, Austria and Hungary under the Comfort and Quality brands, and another deal to establish multiple hotels in Belgium. Choice is further growing its presence in Germany with two new Comfort brand hotels in Frankfurt and Düsseldorf, and recently launched its upscale Ascend Hotel Collection in the UK and France.
Turkey is another strategically important market for Choice where it currently has three hotels in Istanbul and one in Kahramanmaras, and a growing development pipeline.