Turkish luxury hotel chain Rixos will expand its operations abroad this year with the addition of five new hotels to its present chain of 16, a move Vice President Başak Erel says will win Rixos a foothold in the bargain-priced markets of the Arab Spring and Central Asian nations.
The chain will open hotels in Egypt, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and the United Arab Emirates as well as a hotel in Turkey this year, rounding out the company’s current presence in Turkey, Dubai, Bahrain, Ukraine, Croatia and Kazakhstan.
The hotels will open during a tough season for the Middle Eastern tourism industry, says Erel. He told Today’s Zaman on Wednesday, “The sector is going to see a bit more competitive pricing,” citing instability in the Middle East, reduced prices in tourist hotspot Greece and the coming of Ramadan during the peak period of tourist season. This year’s rates, according to Erel, “could see anything from a 10 to 20 percent discount over normal years.” While such discounts may prevail this year, Erel adds that instability in the Middle East and the global financial crisis have also slashed real estate prices and made the past year an ideal time to expand Rixos into “future growth markets” in the UAE and Central Asia. The biggest of the company’s new ventures will be in Egypt, where Rixos will open a 700-room hotel on the Red Sea. In the UAE, it will open a 627-room resort in the Ras al-Khaimah emirate, while in both the Azerbaijani city of Quba and the Kazakh capital of Astana it will open a 200-room hotel.
Rixos’ most lucrative operations remain in Turkey, says Erel, where the company plans to open a new hotel in the posh İstanbul district of Şişli. Erel says its hotel in Pera, meanwhile, has been booked since it opened its doors in May, charging between 260 and 300 euros a night.
Rixos Hotels was established in the southern province of Antalya in 2000. Most of the company’s hotels are located in Antalya and the southwestern province of Muğla. It also operates hotels in the Central Anatolian provinces of Konya and Ankara.