With the company's strategic focus on development and growth, the new area covers a current portfolio of 44 hotels and another 13 in the pipeline in the Arabian Peninsula, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Morocco, Algeria, Africa and Indian Ocean, all headquartered in Dubai.
Highlighting the importance of the new area, Jean-Paul Herzog said: "The Middle East is one of the fastest growing tourism destinations in the world, and is a key development market for Hilton Hotels. The new organisational structure will allow us to continue our focus on operational excellence, while realising our development ambitions for the Hilton Family of Brands."
"We have a declared target to achieve 1,000 new international hotels in the next ten years. In the Middle East alone we have a signed pipeline of 11 new properties, and a development goal of an additional 20 new signings over the next five years. This will require us to grow faster than at anytime in our history. The new organisation structure and direction gives us clear advantages in terms of closeness to the marketplace along with local expertise and understanding, in addition to product offering and quality."
Herzog has two Operations Vice-Presidents in the new area; Essam Abouda covering Arabian Peninsula and Indian Ocean, and Simon Hasdell looking after Egypt, Levant and North Africa. The African hotels will report directly to Herzog. The Dubai Area management currently consists of 20 team members.
The integration last year of Hilton Hotels Corporation with Hilton International has opened up expansion opportunities for the Hilton Family of Brands in the Middle East. In addition to the luxury brands Conrad and The Waldorf-Astoria Collection, development plans include addressing the mid-market segment for the first time with brands such as Hampton by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn and DoubleTree by Hilton.
The U.A.E in particular is a key development market for the company — the first phase of the new Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Resort & Spa, Hilton's second property in the emirate officially opens this week with 151 deluxe villa suites. The final phase of an additional 330 rooms will open in 2008 Q4.
The next property to open in the U.A.E will be the 44-storey Hilton Jumeirah Beach Residence, with 371 rooms and apartments. This is Hilton's first residential offering in Dubai, scheduled to open in January 2008. Meanwhile, in Egypt, the Hilton Luxor Resort & Spa will re-open following a multi-million dollar facelift in 2008 Q1, in what is commonly known as the 'world's greatest open-air museum — Luxor,' alongside the city's first spa. Hilton will also make its mark in Lebanon with the opening of the 162-room contemporary Hilton Beirut later this year.
Further Hilton properties under development are the boutique property, Hilton Dubai Beach Club, with 42 chalets opening in August 2008, and the first two Conrad hotels in the Gulf in Dubai and Abu Dhabi opening end 2009. The company's first foray into Qatar with Hilton Doha opens mid-2008.