At GIBTM, Taufic Tamim tells Sydney Paulden of the Middle East’s hot spotsMövenpick Hotels & Resorts, the Zürich-based group, has been around a long time but has suddenly started to send out signs of rapid growth. Toufic Tamim, the Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts Vice-President Sales & Marketing, was on the company’s stand at GIBTM in Abu Dhabi, so I took the opportunity to have a chat with him about the shape of things to come.
‘We are expanding now quite rapidly’, he confirmed, ‘and it is all part of a plan to achieve a balanced operation globally.’
He then explained that the group saw the world market in terms of four regions. ‘These are’, he went on, ‘Europe, Middle East, Asia and Africa. Our target is a balance of all four, with clusters of hotels in the hot spots of each region.’
Mövenpick has 19 in Europe, with Paris due in 2013; ten operational in Africa, with 12 on the way; six in Asia with 12 in the pipeline; and 23 in the Middle East with six more coming shortly. The group is confident that by 2015 its portfolio will reach at least 100 properties.
As Toufic was about to embark on a review of the Mövenpick status in the Middle East, he broke off in order to welcome a very eminent visitor to the stand. It was HE Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, who was touring the GIBTM stands. Sheikh Sultan is also Chairman of ADNEC, the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, which is the venue for GIBTM and which also owns the ExCel Exhibition and Conference Centre in London.
When we resumed our discussion, Toufic suggested that the hot spots in the Middle East are currently the UAE, Jordan and the Lebanon, all of which had stands at the show.
‘These destinations are becoming big attractions not only for holidaymakers’, he said, ‘but also for corporate groups and association events. About 33% of Mövenpick business in the Middle East is from MICE. Visitors from outside the region are also showing great interest in them as incentive destinations, even groups from afar as China, which is a growing source of corporate business.’
Toufic summed up by saying that hotel facilities and infrastructure had reached a very high standard in the Middle East; that there were places of major interest to visit; and that the area was very good value for money. ‘These are all reasons why we can look forward to a rapid growth in the numbers of corporate groups.’
Pictured: HE Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority was very interested to hear Taufic Tamam’s review of Mövenpick development in the Middle East, whilst Exhibition Manager Lois Hall looked on