Movenpick Hotels & Resorts will open a new hotel in Basra in the first quarter of this year as it seeks to capitalise on the city’s status as Iraq’s economic capital.
“Basra is one of the Middle East’s fastest-growing economic centres, a major oil producer that is undergoing rapid infrastructure development,” said Olivier Chavy, president and chief executive of the Swiss hospitality group.
“Our upcoming property will cater to pent-up demand from the corporate sector, which contributes around 90 per cent of hotel demand in Basra due to the high volume of oil and gas and shipping companies based in this booming region of Iraq.”
Multinational energy companies with operations in Basra include BP, Total, ExxonMobil and China National Petroleum Corporation. Iraq is Opec's second largest oil producer after Saudi Arabia, and Basra, the country's for exporting oil, accounts for 70 per cent of the nation's 158 billion barrels of proven oil reserves.
Movenpick said it has signed an agreement with Akeel Al Khalidy, chairman of Iraq's Southgroup Corporation and the Committee on Economic Development and Investment, part of Basra Council, to manage the five-star Movenpick Hotel Basra.
The 152-key hotel is located in the commercial district of Al Baradi'yah, 25 kilometres west of Basra International Airport. It is expected to meet growing demand for upscale hotels in the city.
Iraq's tourism sector is growing as the country's security situation improves. The contribution of travel and tourism to the economy is expected to grow 6 per cent per annum to 28.5 billion Iraqi dinar (US$23.8 million) by 2027, according to a report from the World Travel and Tourism Council last March.
Movenpick Hotel Basra will feature rooms and suites, restaurants, corporate facilities including a 700 square metre ballroom and multi-functional hall; an indoor swimming pool, gym, spa and retail area.
“With tens of thousands of foreign workers and businessmen travelling in and out of Basra every day and thousands more based in the city, the hotel will be well placed to provide them with high-quality business, dining and leisure facilities and accommodation that set new hospitality standards in this part of Iraq,” Mr Al Khalidy said.