Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Rotana Hotels to develop $55 mn. property in Erbil

(PUKmedia news) - Abu Dhabi-based Rotana Hotels said on Tuesday it would develop a $55 million five-star property in Erbil in Iraq’s Kurdish region, which has largely been spared the violence affecting the rest of the country. Rotana, which has 25 hotels across the Middle East, will compete for a growing hospitality business with the Erbil International Hotel; the city's only other five-star property, where a standard twin room costs around $300 a night.
"This is part of our strategic aim to have a property located in every key city in the Middle East," Selim el-Zyr, president of Rotana, said in a statement. The semi-autonomous Kurdish Regional Government is trying to encourage investors to develop Erbil's hotel infrastructure and turn the city into an entry point to Iraq for foreign businesses.
The ministry of tourism last month said three or four times the current numbers of hotels were needed. The city's international airport handled about 170,000 passengers in 2006 and the regional government is building a new airport to handle 1.5 million, according to the London-based Kurdistan Development Corporation.
Austrian Airlines became the first European carrier to resume scheduled flights to Iraq last year when it began twice-weekly services to Erbil from Vienna. Rotana's 205 room Erbil property, scheduled to open in 2009, is owned by Lebanese holding company Malia although potential investors are ‘still welcome’ according to president Jacques Sarraf.

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