Dubai: Dubai-based group Al Mulla yesterday launched a Sharia-compliant hotel brand portfolio under three core names of Cliftonwood, Adham and Wings.

The hotel group's plan calls for 30 properties by the end of next year.

"There are plenty of individual Sharia-compliant hotels throughout the world. However, their positioning is usually dictated by the owner, either as an independent hotel, one within a chain, or due to the Sharia law of country where they are situated," said Abdullah M Al Mulla, chairman, Al Mulla Hospitality.

"Our brand proposition is so distinct that guests will be confident that our brand values have universal consistency."

Al Mulla Hospitality wants to capture the GCC traveller market, which contributes more than $12 billion annually on leisure travel alone. According to the World Tourism Organisation, Saudi Arabia is one of the biggest outbound travel markets in terms of average spend, with tourists from the Kingdom spending $6.7 billion annually overseas. UAE travellers are close behind at more than $4.9 million, an average of $1,700 per trip, which is $500 higher than the European average.

The Muslim traveller market is increasing around the world due to the rising wealth in their communities combined with conscious lifestyle living, which represent 10 per cent of the world tourism market, and is one of the fastest growing segments. Their average spend is 10 to 50 per cent higher than that of the average leisure or business traveller. Conscious lifestyle tourism is expected to grow at a rate of 20 per cent per annum, five times more than the average traditional market segment.

The specific destinations targeted are Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Jordan, Egypt, Malay-sia and Thailand. Al Mulla Hospitality also wants to set up operations in Europe with 15 deluxe hotels, to be followed by 25 business hotels in "the second European wave".

The group wants to reach 150 hotels by 2013 with expected total investment of more than $2 billion.