Global budget and upscale brands cast eyes on Kuwait

Kuwait's hotel scene is attracting interest from global brands, ranging from budget to upscale. In late September, Four Seasons announced its plans to move into the country. According to Arabian Business, the Four Seasons Kuwait at Burj Alshaya is set to open in late 2016 and will be located in Kuwait’s central business district.

“Entering the market of Kuwait is a logical step for us following our recent openings in Dubai and Bahrain. The Burj Alshaya development is destined to become an exciting new landmark for the city," Christian Clerc, president, hotel operations - Europe, Middle East and Africa, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, told Hotelier Middle East about the expansion plans at the time.

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This week, budget hotel owners Action Hotels announced that it would expand its presence in Kuwait under the management of AccorHotels. Sheikh Mubarak A. M. Al Sabah, founder and chairman of Action Hotels, reportedly held development talks at the White Palace with Sebastien Bazin, AccorHotels’ chairman and CEO, in the presence of French Ambassador, Christian NakhleAccorHotels opened the first Novotel in Kuwait just under a year ago.

The talks, marking Bazin’s first visit to Kuwait, focused on the strong demand for quality economy and mid-market hotels in the region, highlighting opportunities for growth. 

And there seem to be many opportunities available for global investment: The Leaders Group Company for Consultancy and Development (the representative of UNWTO in Kuwait) released a monthly report for September 2015, showing that only KD 1 billion (slightly less than $3.25 billion) is currently invested in the local hotel sector, and the majority of that amount was invested in five- and four-star hotels that usually have low occupancy rates with a maximum of 50 percent at best.

Furthermore, the report underscored that Kuwait's hotels sector did not get any official support. "Relevant authorities do not deal with hotels as a regulated industry, as there are many buildings which get licensed and built as ordinary ones then get turned into hotels without matching internationally acknowledged hotel specifications and standards," the report concluded.

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