Sunday, 24 September, 2017

Rotana Group to open four hotels in Iran within years

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UAE-based hotel group Rotana is set to open four hotels in Iran within next two years, two in the city of Mashhad set to be completed by the end of 2017, and  two in Tehran due to open in 2018.

‘Rotana was the first hotel management company to announce its expansion plans in the Iranian market, after signing the management agreement in March 2013 for four properties currently under development, all of which will be opened under the company’s alcohol-free brand Rayhaan Hotels & Resorts by Rotana.’ Corporate director of marketing & communications, Amin Dakkak, told MailOnline Travel.

‘The first two hotels are set to open in the city of Mashhad – a 362 room hotel in 2017 followed by a 275 room hotel in 2018.’ He added.

Dakkak said: ‘In Tehran, Rotana will launch two further Rayhaan properties by 2018 – a five-star hotel will house 194 rooms and a four-star hotel will include 210 rooms.’

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This is an artist’s impression of the sprawling Rotana Tehran hotel, which will be one of four constructed in Iran by the company

‘With the lifting of sanctions, we are sure that all developers and operators will be racing to secure their position in one of the world’s largest untapped markets.’

With improved relations, Iran’s beaches, breathtaking Islamic architecture and incredible food could see the country soar to the top of the ‘must-visit’ destinations of 2016.

Last week, Iranian media reported that the country’s biggest five-star hotel, the Espinas Palace, has just been officially opened.

Espinas Palace has been constructed on a 15,000 sq metre site and sports restaurants and cafes, conference halls, and a 2,500 seat concert hall.

Iran also plans to build another 125 luxury hotels as it pushes on with plans to be this year’s must-see destination

Accor, which is Europe’s largest hotel group, has already constructed two four-star hotels at Imam Khomeini International Airport outside the Iranian capital.

Melia Hotels and Jumeirah Hotel Group are also considering expansion into Iran.

Speaking to MailOnline Travel, David McGuinness, co-founder of specialist tour operator Travel The Unknown believes now could be perfect time to visit Iran.

He said: ‘The nuclear deal opens up new prospects for Iran as a tourist destination.’

‘People sometimes forget that Iran was one of the oldest tourist destinations, attracting people to its ancient sites before tourism as a concept had really begun to take hold.’ McGuinness added.

‘Iran has a wealth of attractions – ancient cities like Persepolis and Pasargadae built by famous leaders like Cyrus the Great, and Darius, stunning Islamic art and architecture, reaching its zenith in Esfahan.

He said: ‘It’s a supremely friendly and welcoming country, despite what our preconceptions may lead us to believe. Hospitality is in their blood.’

‘Now the path forward to a normalisation of relations, while certainly not assured, is beginning to emerge into the light – and with this a rebirth of tourism in Iran.’

A country rich in historical and cultural treasures, Iran will unveil an investment package of 1,300 projects in the coming days to attract foreign investment and boost the badly-hit tourism industry.

Iran is home to 19 Unesco-registered sites, including the ancient city of Bisotun.

Even before sanctions are lifted, the number of foreigners visiting Iran has grown 12 per cent in each of the past two years.

In 2014, Iran hosted over five million tourists, bringing in some $7.5 billion (£4.8 billion) in revenue.

About half were Shiite Muslims, the same religious denomination as most Iranians, and the other half were tourists from Europe, North America and east Asia.

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