Despite a challenging year for the hospitality industry across the Middle East and North Africa, Hilton Worldwide has continued to expand its portfolio. Speaking at a press conference in Cairo, Christian Grage, vice president operations, Egypt & Levant and Emma Corcoran, corporate communications director, Middle East and Africa, discussed the challenges and opportunities this year has presented, including the opening of two new Hilton hotels in Egypt this year.
“Hilton Worldwide has had presence in Egypt for over 50 years and Hilton Hotels and Resorts is the largest international hotel brand in the country. This year has been challenging, but throughout the revolution all our hotels remained open and we’ve continued with our expansion plans, including the opening of the Hilton Zamalek Residence Cairo and the Hilton Marsa Alam Nubian Resort,” said Christian Grage, vice president operations, Egypt & Levant, Hilton Worldwide.
Hilton Worldwide now operates 18 hotels in Egypt (17 Hilton hotels and one Conrad), with a total of over 6,700 rooms, and employs nearly 8,000 team members across the country.
During the first quarter of the year the Egyptian tourism industry experienced a significant drop in business, as many countries around the world placed government advisories on travel. As travel advisories lifted, guests started returning. Occupancy in resort areas bounced back relatively quickly, particularly because direct flights allowed tour operators to continue to bring groups. Cairo remains a more challenging market, however guests are returning in greater numbers each month.
“We have been operating hotels here for more than five decades and recognize that we have a responsibility to support Egypt’s vital tourism industry,” explained Mr. Grage. “In line with the Ministry of Tourism’s significant marketing campaigns, we’ve implemented our own new sales and marketing promotions across all market segments, such as offering early bird discounts to tour operators and maximizing the use of our global promotions.”
Despite the drop in tourism this year, Hilton Worldwide remains confident in Egypt’s tourism industry and is actively looking for further hotels in the country. The company already has two hotels in the development pipeline: Hilton Makadi Resort and Hilton Heliopolis, scheduled to open in the next three to four years.
“When times are tough, consumers become more discerning in their spending decisions and gravitate towards powerful and familiar brands, like Hilton,” said Mr. Grage. “As one of the world's leading hospitality companies, we’re committed to our guests, our team members and to Egypt, and we will continue to build our presence in the country.”