Rezidor Hotel Group is set to open 17 new hotels in the Middle East this year—11 in Saudi Arabia and five in the UAE.
The openings will add more than 3,000 rooms to the company's already 12,000 rooms in the Middle East. These most recent additions will allow the group to reach its goal to have 100 hotels and 20,000 rooms in operation by 2020 across the Middle East.
According to Elie Younes, Rezidor's EVP and CDO, these new hotels will help Rezidor double its presence in the region. “We look ahead with great excitement to open the multiple planned hotels this year as we are due to launch flagship properties in different markets which will support growing our regional reputation," he said.
The announcement coincided with the reveal of the company's newest general manager, Maram Kokandi, who is the first Saudi woman to be appointed as a general manager not only in the company, but also, reportedly, in the hospitality industry. She will manage Jeddah's new Park Inn by Radisson hotel slated to open later this year.
“Our group wishes to take a leading role in promoting diversity but also in creating the employment opportunities to nationals as another translation to our regional responsibility and further in alignment with the various government initiatives,” Mark Willis, AVP, Middle East & Turkey, said in a statement.
The historic appointment supports the government's Saudi Vision 2030 initiative launched last year. It emphasizes the significance of Saudi women and their role in leading the development of social and professional growth of Saudi Arabia.