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Premier Inn plans to open 14 hotels in GCC in next 3 years

Dubai: UK-based budget hotel chain, Premier Inn, plans to open 14 hotels in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries over the next three years, the company’s top executive said on Wednesday.

“We are targeting a minimum of 30 hotels in the GCC by 2020,” said Darroch Crawford, the company’s managing director.

Owned by hospitality company, Whitbread, Premier Inn has over 650 hotels in the UK, five in the UAE and three in India.

The hotels that are set to open include one each in Sharjah, Riyadh, Dammam, Jubeil, Manama, two each in Muscat, Doha and Jeddah, and three in Dubai (one of which is expected to be at Dubai Healthcare City).

Of those properties, four (one in Jeddah, Dubai, Sharjah and Manama) will be built by Action Hotels at a cost of Dh378 million.

The hotels will cost between Dh80m and Dh100m each to build.

The hotel chain is also looking to open three more hotels in Dubai, according to Crawford. He did not provide additional details. It is also looking to acquire properties in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, and more in India.

Crawford stated that the budget and mid-market hotel segment is under-represented in the region, which is home to many five-star hotel brands. However, he expects budget and mid-market hotels in the region to increase significantly over the next five to six years.

As Dubai’s tourism industry develops, more visitors will arrive, including those that prefer to stay at budget and mid-market hotels, according to Christopher Hewett, senior consultant at TRI Hospitality Consulting.

The emirate is trying to diversify its hotel offering. The government introduced an incentive last year to build more three- and four-star hotels in the emirate. A ten per cent municipality fee will be waived for five years for newly developed three- and four-star hotels that expect to operate before June 2017.

Also, government land will be allocated for the development of hotels in this segment.

The UAE boasts a number of budget and mid-scale hotels, such as Holiday Inn Express, Ibis, Centro and Citymax.

Dubai is in the process of building 10,970 rooms, the highest number of rooms regionally, followed by Makkah, Riyadh, Doha, Abu Dhabi and Jeddah, according to data by STR Global, a hotel research firm.