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IHG expands Africa presence

In a bid to strengthen its presence in Africa, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) announced the opening of its Holiday Inn in Mutare, Zimbabwe.

The franchised property, owned by African Sun Limited, features 96 rooms, an outdoor pool and a meeting room capable of seating 250 people.

Mutare is positioned in the diamond mining region of Zimbabwe, and close to the Tete Province, a coal mining region in Mozambique. Zimbabwe imports machinery, electrical and electronic equipment from the UAE, and its largest exports are in the diamond industry.

Pascal Gauvin, chief operating officer, India, Middle East and Africa, IHG, said: “Africa represents huge untapped opportunities for a variety of industries across the region. Our new property will further support business travel between the Middle East, and Africa.”

The Holiday Inn Mutare is the third Holiday Inn franchised property with the African Sun Limited. The Holiday Inn Harare and Holiday Inn Bulawayo have both performed to brand standards and present further opportunities for growth. The new Holiday Inn property in Mutare increases IHG and Africa Sun’s footprint to a total of 351 rooms.

Across the Middle East and Africa there are 31 (6,346 rooms) Holiday Inn Hotels & Resorts open and an additional nine properties (2,503 rooms) due to open within next three to five years. Globally, there are almost 1,200 Holiday Inn Hotels and Resorts open, with a further 265 due to open in the next three to five years.

IHG inks exclusive agreement with Bukhamseen Group

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) recently announced an exclusive agreement with Bukhamseen Group Holding Company, a Kuwaiti business conglomerate, to build and operate IHG hotels exclusively in Kuwait.

Under terms of the agreement, IHG will expand its brand portfolio and hotel footprint in the market in an exclusive collaboration with the Group.

IHG currently operates three hotels in Kuwait in partnership with Bukhamseen Group – Crowne Plaza Al Thuraya City, Holiday Inn Al Thuraya City and Holiday Inn Salmiya. Additionally, the new venture – InterContinental Al Thuraya – is currently under construction and due to open in 2019.

The agreement grants country wide-exclusivity (Kuwait) to the Bukhamseen Group for a 10-year term and covers six IHG brands, including InterContinental Hotels and Resorts, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Resort, Holiday Inn Express and Staybridge Suites.

First graduates of ‘Dubai Way’ announced

In a recent development, the Dubai College of Tourism (DCT), an institution established by Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) announced the first graduates of its interactive training programme – ‘Dubai Way’. The programme is designed for government and private sector staff engaged in tourist-facing roles in various service sectors.

The initiative was launched by DCT for tourism professionals who interact with visitors day-to-day, such as staff at hotels, airlines, airports, malls, transportation systems, theme parks, tourism attractions, and even exchange houses. The programme is designed to expand participant’s knowledge of the emirate and its tourism industry as well as improving guest relations and service skills.

First batch of graduates from DCT

First The first three ‘Dubai Way’ champions are all from hotels under InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) – Irfan Yaqoob from Crowne Plaza Dubai –  Deira, Hassan Hamada from InterContinental Dubai Festival City and Karena Regro from Crowne Plaza Dubai Festival City.

Essa Bin Hadher, general manager, DCT gave away the certificates to the three graduates. He added: “As our tourism industry grows, ‘Dubai Way’ offers standardised information and instructions when it comes to guest services and relations, enabling us to deliver services while still retaining Dubai’s culture of hospitality.”

The online programme, which can also be accessed on all smart mobile devices, is delivered through practical video lessons. The video toolkit features online activities and assessments and gives students knowledge of Dubai’s history and heritage, its future developments, attractions, world-class infrastructure and how to offer the highest level of customer service.

IHG expands in KSA

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) announced the opening of Staybridge Suites Jeddah Alandalus Mall.

The mall as per statistics receives an annual visitor rate exceeding 13 million. This makes the location an attractive option for families as well as transit guests to Makkah.

Hathal Al Utaibi, chief business development officer, Alandalus Property Co, said: “The Kingdom maintains the largest economy in the Middle East, and as a result, corporate travel within the country, and particularly in Jeddah, is considerable. As the GCC’s economy continues to expand, Jeddah will continue to grow as a commercial hub for industries such as engineering, real estate, construction, and IT/telecommunications. This means an ever-increasing number of visitors who need long stay options in the city.”

The property will comprise of 164 suites offering a mix of studios, one and two bedroom suites. Additionally, for the business traveller, there are seven meeting rooms, a banquet hall, outdoor swimming pool, spa, a gym, and a business centre.

IHG operates 78 hotels across five brands in the Middle East region (GCC, Levant and Egypt), including InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn Express and Staybridge Suites, with a further 27 in the development pipeline (March YTD 2017). There are currently three Staybridge Suites across AMEA, with four in the pipeline in Middle East, three of which will be in Saudi Arabia*.