Most hoteliers eying the world's hotspots as new markets might be put off by conflict, poverty or even the lack of tourists, credit cards or lettuce.
Not the Abu Dhabi based hotel management company Rotana: It sees its future growth in serving the underserved, in venturing into neglected markets in Iraq, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Pakistan.
"The business opportunity is substantial," Rotana CEO Guy Hutchinson told 4Hoteliers in an interview on the sidelines of the ITB convention in Berlin this week. "It is one aspect of our development strategy, and whether it is Iraq or Kurdistan or Sudan or Iran or Angola – these markets are underserved."
"Generally, what's there is more than 10 years old, legacy hotels," he added, by way of explanation. "There has been nothing new coming into those markets for years. So the opportunity is really substantial."
Hutchinson points to the company's two hotels in Erbil as examples – the latest opened a year ago. "They are doing fantastic," he said, describing the hotel's clientele as embassy staff, oil and gas officials and other business travelers. "You're the only game in town. There is something to be said for being the only choice."
Read the full store at the ITB Berlin dedicated news portal at 4Hoteliers.com