Turkey and Russia top markets for Rezidor
By Metin Demirsar Istanbul (Dunya) – The Rezidor Hotel Group is focusing on investments in Turkey and Russia in the fast growing East- ern European tourism market, said its President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Wolfgang M. Neumann on Wednesday.
The Brussels-based group, which operates more than 440 hotels in city centers and sub- urban locations, gateway air- ports and exclusive resorts, has 96,000 plus rooms. It employs more than 35,000 people in more than 72 countries across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Its portfolio includes the hotel brands Radisson Blu, Park Inn by Radisson and Hotel Missoni and Regent, with each having a distinct style. ?We see Eastern Europe as a dynamic emerging market.
The market in Western Europe is sluggish,? Mr. Neumann, who has been president and CEO since September 2012, said in an interview. ?But in this segment we are focusing our investments mainly on Turkey and Russia.? He said the region lacked sufficient international hotel brands. Nevertheless, the group had 41 existing or planned hotels in Russia and 11 in Turkey. Mr. Neumann was attending the two-day ?The Turkey & Neighbors Hotel Investment Conference (CATHIC)? in Istanbul. The Austrian-born executive said Turkey had ambitious targets, including a plan to in- crease foreign tourist visitors by 87% to 50 million plus a year by 2020 and bolster tourism receipts to $50 billion from $23 million in 2012. That would make Turkey the third biggest recipient of tourist visitors after France and the U.S.
?The government has taken the necessary steps to meet these targets, including plans to construct a new international airport in Istanbul, build a new bridge across the Bosphorus and bid for the 2020 Olympic Games. The country has a proven fast track record for growth,? he said. Other delegates attending the conference agreed. ?Turkey has established it- self as a hub of thriving hotel hotel development and 2014 shows no signs of slowing down,? said Defne Gezen, vice president of the hotels and hospitality group of Jones Lang LaSalle, the Chicago-based real estate consultant.
Investors? meeting CATHIC gave Turkish hotel investors the chance to meet executives of major hotel operators. ?Most Turkish investors in big hotels want to work with international brands. It takes years to become a brand. By becoming part of an international group guarantees occupancy and a steady income,? Seher Musfide Aybek, a leading tourism writer, said. ?
Among the keys to a successful hotel investment is finding the right partner and consultant and the correct general manager,? said Omer Isvan, president of Servotel, a consultancy company that has over seen hotel development in several countries. The top executives of the world?s leading hotel groups attended the meetings, including the Rezidor Group, Accor, Hilton World Wide, Howarth HTL, InterContinental Hotels Group, Louvre Hotels Group, Premier Inn, Quadriga, and Starwood Hotels and Resorts.
But there were several Turkish groups that had be- come international brands and were attending the conference. These included the Dedeman Hotel and Resorts International, which was first established in Ankara in the 1940s, and now operates hotels and resorts in Turkey, Russia Northern Iraq and several other countries, the Rixos Hotels and the Marmara Collection, which has invested in several hotels in Turkey and the U.S. Some of the topics at the conference included looking at the big picture; international investors for Turkey; keys to success in today?s and tomorrow?s market; the Turkish investment outlook, government incentives for hotel investments; the macroeconomic view of Turkey.
Other topics discussed included the new investors; spot- light on Iraq, Syria and Azerbaijan; focus on Istanbul, securing finance and refinancing for the hotel and real estate sector, developing mid-market and economy hotels. There was a final debate on whether international brands added value for the Turkish re- sort market?