Above: Mike Collini, VP, Development, Turkey, Russia and Eastern Europe, Hilton Worldwide; Remigijus Šimašius, Mayor of Vilnius; and Domas Dargis, CEO, EIKA discuss Hilton’s Baltic expansion at a press conference in Vilnius, Lithuania.
By 2018, Hilton Worldwide will have a presence in each of the Baltic nations following new plans to bring its midscale Hilton Garden Inn brand to Lithuania and Latvia. The announcement, made at a press conference in Vilnius attended by the mayor of the city, follows last month's opening of Hilton Tallinn Park, Estonia, the company's first hotel in the Baltic region.
“The Baltic states are amongst some the most attractive destinations in Europe for doing business and the WTTC forecasts each area is set to benefit from increased government investment in travel and tourism—with Lithuania alone looking at an increase of over 60 percent by 2026,” Patrick Fitzgibbon, SVP development, EMEA, Hilton Worldwide, said at the conference. “The success of last month's opening of Hilton Tallinn Park makes this the opportune moment to demonstrate our commitment to the wider Baltic region by announcing our entry to both Lithuania and Latvia.”
Hilton Garden Inn Vilnius City Centre
In a franchise agreement with Lithuanian real estate developer EIKA, a midscale hotel with up to 150 guestrooms will be constructed as part of a multi-purpose development on central Gediminas Avenue. The hotel itself is expected to open by the end of 2018. Negotiations with potential hotel operators are pending.
"Vilnius has a great demand for accommodation as the number of tourists and events continues to grow each year,” Domas Dargis, CEO from EIKA said. “Occupancy levels are amongst the highest in Europe which makes the city attractive for investment. For almost three years we have considered a hotel development in Gediminas avenue. A study carried out by international consultants helped to decide on the size, chain and brand of the hotel. Our investment decision was based on the location, market situation and professional recommendations."
Mayor of Vilnius Remigijus Šimašius welcomed the presence of Hilton Worldwide in Lithuania and EIKA's investment in the new project. "The launch of a new high-class hotel and a new business hub in the very heart of the capital is a significant event for the whole city…The launch of a well-known international brand in Lithuania will attract more tourists, promote the emergence of new flight destinations and more international events in our city,” Šimašius said.
Hilton Garden Inn Riga Old Town
Expected to be completed by the end of next year, this 100-guestroom property will be located in the center of Riga's historic old town. Under a franchise agreement with Apex Alliance, the hotel will be managed by UAB Apex Alliance Hotel Management, an experienced operator in the Baltic region. The site of the hotel is almost immediately adjacent to the city's most famous building, known as the House of Blackheads, which is a popular meeting and concert venue as well as the current official residence of the Latvian President.
Hilton Worldwide also announced that it would no longer be pursuing the previously proposed development of Hilton Garden Inn Riga Valdemara, which had been announced in 2014.