Millennium and Copthorne to operate hotel in Turkey

The Dubai-based division of Millennium and Copthorne Hotels is entering Turkey despite a tourism slowdown.

The Middle East and Africa unit of the London-headquartered hotel company signed a deal with Altin Istanbul to operate the Millennium Golden Horn Hotel. The 125-room Istanbul property is expected to open next year.

The Golden Horn neighbourhood is located on the European side of Istanbul, and previously featured a trading harbour and a residential area during the Byzantine period. The property is spread over 11,000 square metres and features renovated historic buildings. 

The Turkish tourism sector has nosedived after a series of terror attacks in the first half of the year and a coup attempt in July. This has been coupled with economic woes.

Still, the decline of the Turkish lira to its lowest against the US dollar in a year last week may offer some tourists better value for money.

During the second quarter, tourism income declined by 35.6 per cent to US$4.98 billion compared to the same period last year. The number of visitors decreased by 30.3 per cent compared to 7.49 million compared to a year earlier, according to the latest data from the Turkish Statistical Institute.

“The economic situation worsens as manufacturing, trade, retail and tourism slow down,” said Maya Shehayeb, an analyst at Euromonitor International. “The duration that the government will take to settle its international political conflicts and local tensions will dictate how quick it will improve the high-growth prospect.”

Millennium and Copthorne, similar to other UAE hotel operators looking to expand in Turkey, is banking on its popularity with Arabian Gulf visitors. 

“We are confident that due to concrete measures put in place by the government, Turkey’s tourism industry is on the path to recovery,” according to Francois Kassab, the chief operating officer at Millennium and Copthorne for Middle East and Africa.

Jumeirah Group expects to open its third property in Turkey in 2018. Hotel operator Rotana will add three properties in Turkey before 2020.

Millennium and Copthorne currently operates 28 hotels, including 10 in the UAE, and has 12 hotels in the pipeline in the next year. It expects to expand its portfolio to 100 properties by 2020 in the Middle East and Africa region.

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