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50 hotels by 2020, says Swiss-Belhotel chief.

Swiss-Belhotel International recently launched the 111-room Swiss-Belhotel Petitenget, Bali, a mid-scale property in its growing portfolio of Indonesian properties.

Earlier this year, the company continued to gain momentum in the Middle East with the signing of an agreement to manage a five-star hotel in Bahrain. Owned by Sheikh Salman Bin Abdallah Hamad Al Khalifa, the five-star Swiss-Belhotel Bahrain will open in 2016.

Swiss-Belhotel International's portfolio currently has more than 125 hotels, resort and projects. Since its establishment in 1987, Swiss-Belhotel International has expanded throughout Asia, the Middle East and Australasia, with Europe the new target following the recent establishment of a European office. It plans to manage 250 hotels and resorts by 2022. TTN caught up with Swiss-Belhotel chairman and president Gavin M. Faull for more...

Can you give us a quick update on Swiss-Belhotel in this region?

The Middle East is definitely a growing marketing for us. We now have five operations here. We have two upcoming projects in Riyadh, one 26-storey hotel and the other a high-end boutique hotel and we are signing a third. We have a five-star resort opening in Bahrain within 18 months.

There's also a project opening in Erbil. Doha will be opening soon and a three-star property in Muscat hopefully in the next 12 months. We are also looking at five hotels in Oman.

We will easily have 20 operations in the region by the end of 2016 and we are looking at 50 hotels in the Middle East by 2020.

What about Asia?

Asia is cooling down, growth rates are dropping by 60 per cent but are still three times the growth rate of the western world!

Indonesia is our success story, we are opening a hotel every six weeks. We have 48 properties in operation and 47 projects -- a total of 93 properties. We have a property in Manila, one in Kuala Lumpur and one in Kuantan in Malaysia, one in Da Lat in Vietnam, three in China and hopefully a fourth hotel in Shanghai.

Faull ... we take e-commerce seriously

We have a 25-year lease on a property in Brisbane, Australia, which is finishing end of next year and we have a resort in Queenstown, New Zealand.

Other growth plans?

We a have just opened an office in Athens and I will be looking at opportunities in Europe as this was our birthplace some time ago, but it is still a flat economy.

So you are now looking worldwide?

Asia and the Middle East are our driving force. I keep looking at India as I fly over... We have a number of people who come to us, but as a strategic plan, I would say we are an opportunistic management company and we do look at what is out there and go for it!

Anything else you would like to add particularly for the trade?

We take the e-commerce very seriously. We have a new website and within a month, we had a 400 per cent daily increase.

We still work with the wholesalers who give rates to the travel agents and we also work directly with travel agents and destination management companies.

Every country has its own destination management companies who can bring in certain markets because of visa regulation etc, so it is very important for us to work with them and it is a part we can never ignore no matter how big online grows, no matter how big we grow anywhere, it is that personal relationship we have to grow.

By Kim Thomson

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Deal alert!

To celebrate the opening, Swiss-Belhotel Petitenget offers guests 35 per cent off room rate for stays until September.

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Publication:Travel & Tourism News
Date:Aug 2, 2015
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