Hospitality market set to join regional peers

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Published: Fri 31 Jul 2015, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Fri 31 Jul 2015, 10:01 AM

Iran is set to become one of the region's most lucrative hotel development markets, with an annual visitor target of 20 million by 2025 - a five-fold increase.
The statement was made by Peter Blackburn, president and CEO of the Cristal Group, who revealed: "There has already been talk of an investment of $185 billion in oil and gas projects, as well as further development of the country's metals and automotive industries, while general trade is certain to rise which will give a tremendous boost to the region, and Dubai as a major hub."
Following the recent agreement with international negotiators on capping nuclear capacity, trade and financial sanctions are due to be lifted in 2016, paving the way for expansion of the country's infra-structure and industrial base. There has already been a huge influx of business traffic in to Iran, which has underlined the lack of accommodation in the capital Tehran that has an estimated 100 hotels, many of which are in need of renovation.
"Hospitality has moved on in recent years and international travellers expect certain levels of ser-vice, product and communications which are currently lacking in Iran," said Blackburn.
"Importing the services of experienced hotel operators who have a knowledge of the region will enable Iran's hotel sector to up its game in the short-term - and this is where we see a role for Cristal Hotels, working with partners in the country."
The group already operates hotels in the Iraq, Lebanon and the UAE, with further properties under development and negotiation in Saudi Arabia, Kurdistan and Turkey. Blackburn noted that Iran would be a natural fit in the group's growing portfolio.
"In addition to business interests, there is considerable demand for Iran as a new tourism destination, and we can see potential to grow in all sectors in the country, taking advantage of new financial incentives as well as the transfor-mation of the image of Iran in global markets," he said.-'

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