x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Hilton expects business to grow in the region

The Hilton hotel chain forecasts a global rise in revenues for the industry as well as the growth of its own business in the Middle East.

The Hilton Hotel in Ras Al Khaimah. Ryan Carter / The National
The Hilton Hotel in Ras Al Khaimah. Ryan Carter / The National

The Hilton hotel chain expects its business to grow in the Middle East this year amid forecasts for a global rise in revenues for the industry - despite the economic uncertainties plaguing Europe and the US.

"I think it will be much better than last year," said Rudi Jagersbacher, the area president for Hilton Worldwide, Middle East and Africa.

Hotel performance in some areas of the region was negatively impacted by unrest but a lot of these travel flows were redistributed to places such as the UAE and Turkey, he said.

"It was very tough in the first six months with Tunisia and Egypt, but by June last year we were able to kick-start the engine from a leisure point of view.

"We regained a lot of the occupancies, not necessarily the yields. Where we still have an issue is in Cairo itself. I think we've got one or two events still that need to be resolved before we see a clear strategy for the next three years."

An Ernst & Young report also said the global hotel industry will continue its recovery this year, despite questions surrounding the global economy.

"The conventional wisdom suggests that key fundamentals should be on the wane, but that has not happened yet and, due to many factors, we don't believe it will occur in 2012," said Michael Fishbin, Ernst & Young's leader of global hospitality services.

Paul Brown, the president of brands and commercial service at Hilton Worldwide, agreed. "All in all we're bullish on 2012 as a global industry.

"We believe as a company that 2012 will be a good year and will most likely be a better year than 2011, which was a significantly better year than 2010," he said.

The company does not issue specific figures for its forecasts.

Global Investment House, however, is not so optimistic on the prospects for Dubai.

"We do not expect the improvements that took place during 2011 as a result of the Arab Spring to be extended further in 2012 but see a more negative spell on leisure tourism and business travel from the overall negative global sentiment," it said in a report on Sunday.