Rotana will launch in the UK under its budget brand Centro. But the Abu Dhabi hotel operating still sees chances for more action in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: After signing up for its first UK presence, Abu Dhabi-based hotel operator Rotana rates Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Central and Eastern Africa as ripe for opportunities, citing strong government support and infrastructure.

“There are definitely significant (hospitality) hubs emerging in that space,” said Guy Hutchinson, Rotana’s CEO.

Even with all its existing hotels in the UAE, the home market remains central to the operator’s medium-term prospects. “There’s such a defined plan and infrastructure put around,” the CEO said. “The governments clear about the contribution of travel and tourism to the economy, and that’s backed by resources, which is really fuelling growth. And you’re seeing a lot of hospitality operators grow.”

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Rotana, on Monday, confirmed its entry into the UK with the launch of two properties under its affordable hotel and serviced apartment brand, Centro.

Post Qatar World Cup growth

Hutchinson also spoke about Rotana’s experience with the World Cup preparations in Qatar last year and how its hotels have fared since the event. “We’ve seen the whole infrastructure around Doha and Qatar completely rejuvenated now, that impact will be there for the next 10 years. The way the Doha market performed post World Cup has completely exceeded our expectations.”

As for prospects this Summer, “One of the strengths about this year is how uniform the region has been in leading global occupancy numbers (for the hotel sector),” said Hutchinson. “Whether in Morocco or Egypt, and all the way through the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.”

Rotana currently operates 72 hotels in the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe and Turkey, serving more than six million guests per year, including an impressive 10,012 keys across 36 hotels in the UAE alone.