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FIVE MINUTES WITH….RICHARD WEILERS, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, TSOGO SUN HOTELS

Weilers reveals why the South African hotel operator opened its first Middle Eastern property in Abu Dhabi.

Why did you decide to launch your first Middle Eastern property in Abu Dhabi?

In line with our growth strategy, Abu Dhabi is a key city to represent our group’s brand and we did not hesitate to sign up for this Abu Dhabi landmark.

What is the current state of Abu Dhabi’s hospitality market?

The hospitality market has seen the growth of exceptionally good hotel products over the past few years and, in line with the Abu Dhabi tourism authorities and Etihad Airways strategies, we are confident in the future of the capital and the hotel industry in general.

The UAE is one of the most exciting hotel and tourism hubs in the world and will continue to grow as the region has demonstrated over the past number of years.

What are your thoughts on the wider tourism market in the region?

It is the region’s strategy to continue to provide exceptional hospitality choices for leisure and to grow its share of the global leisure market. The region has outstanding facilities to compliment the leisure market such as excellent beaches, cultural heritage tourism and world class shopping facilities, as well as auxiliary leisure choices such as adventure parks like Yas WaterWorld and Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi. In terms of the corporate sector, the region continues to attract investment. The UAE is equidistant from all global markets and, combined with its investor-friendly structures, this sector will continue to grow and facilitate the business sector of the hotel industry.

Do you think demand for budget hotels is set to increase?

As the market is reaching maturity within the deluxe end of the hotel industry, there is a definite need and opportunity for hotel investment in the budget and economy sectors. Providing these additional hotel categories will open up the market to a broader tourism and business community.

How do you plan to stand out especially since competition is so high?

We have a very clear customer-centric philosophy, as well as a commitment to our associates as not only employees, but respected partners of our business model.

What are your future expansion plans?

The Tsogo Sun Group is looking at growing its portfolio within Africa and the Middle East region.

Source: Gulf Business – Heather Jimaa