Almulla launches world?s first Sharia compliant hotel brand portfolio
Wednesday, 24th October 2007
Hospitality group launches three new brands to accommodate demand from Muslim travelers – 10 hotels to be operational in Mid East & SE Asia by 2012
Dubai-based hospitality group Almulla, today launched the world?s first Sharia compliant hotel brand portfolio. Initially ten hotels under three core brand names of Cliftonwood, Adham and Wings will be operational in the Middle East and South East Asia within the next five years.
“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,” commented Abdulla M Almulla, Chairman of Almulla Hospitality.”Our brand proposition is so distinct that guests will be confident that our brand values have universal consistency.”
The specific destinations targeted are Saudi Arabia, UAE, Jordan, Egypt, Malaysia and Thailand. Beyond this first wave, Almulla Hospitality will develop a total of 40 properties, either as investment vehicles or through management contracts, within a 10 year timetable.
All properties operating under these brands will respect and abide by the principles of Sharia and will not sell alcohol and only serve Halal prepared food, as interpreted by the Sharia law and the Sharia supervisory board.
The business case is also sound GCC travellers contribute over US$ 12 billion annually on leisure travel alone. According to the World Tourism Organization, Saudi Arabia is one of the biggest outbound travel markets in terms of average spend with tourists from the Kingdom spending US$ 6.7 billion annually on overseas travel. The UAE travellers are close behind at more than US$ 4.9 million, an average of US$ 1,700 per trip, which is US$ 500 higher than the European average.
Almulla is also confident that their brand proposition will attract another growing sector within the travel industry, the ‘conscious lifestyle’ segment. “There are a greater number of outbound travellers from the emerging economies in the Middle East and Asia, creating a swing in demand, out of which new vertical sectors have evolved. Wellness, medical and eco tourism are no longer merely peripheral markets, they are now integral to the shifting tourism landscape.”
The conscious lifestyle traveller is not easy to define or profile, they respect the environment, culture, heritage, wellness and the ecology of the destinations they visit. Quite apart from the parallels that can be drawn with the demands of Muslim travellers this segment also presents a viable business opportunity.
They represent ten per cent of the world tourism market, and is one of the fastest growing segments. Their average spend is ten to fifty per cent higher than that of the average leisure or business traveller. The bottom line is that conscious lifestyle tourism is expected to grow at a rate of twenty per cent per annum, five times more than the average traditional market segment.
Almulla Hospitality?s flagship five-star luxury brand, Cliftonwood will be introduced to maximise the group?s initial market impact, providing guests with a soothing atmosphere, appealing to the five basic senses. Properties will consist of a fusion of city boutique hotels and up market resorts with the emphasis on Islamic culture, well-being and contemporary lifestyle.
Of the other brands, the four-star deluxe Adham Hotels are designed principally for business travellers and the three-star Wings brand will offer basic amenities for the cost-conscious traveller.