Sabah - Turkey’s increasing appeal in the eyes of tourists from the Middle East has given way to a group of Arab investors looking to invest in Turkey’s lodging industry. Fuelled by highly popular Turkish soap operas aired on regional TV networks and visa-free travel, the interest towards Turkey among the populations of the Arab countries has been constantly on the rise in recent years. Hotel operators and tourism investors from Gulf countries were quick to take advantage of the situation as hotel chains like Jumeirah, Rotana and Viceroy from the UAE and My Tuana from Saudi Arabia have already announced investments in Turkey’s tourism sector.
The Jumeirah Group of Dubai was the first Gulf-based hotel chain to announce an investment in Turkey this year. The group signed a deal to run Istanbul’s historic Pera Palas hotel. In February came the news of Saudi royal family member and the Head of Arab Tourism Organization, Dr Bandar bin Fahed al Fahed’s multi-billion dollar thermal hotel projects that began with My Tuana Tuz Hotel and SPA in Cerkezkoy Tekirdag. The My Tuana chain plans to have hotels in Bursa, Afyon and Mersin provinces with an intention to reach 50 facilities in five years.
Another hotelier from the Gulf, Rotana, has picked Iskenderun, Hatay on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey for a holiday resort. Rotana’s venture in partnership with Turkish company Rhossos will open its doors by 2014.
Viceroy Hotels, half belonging to Mubadala Development from Abu Dhabi, will take part in Nef Bebekoy project in Istanbul, according to an announcement by the company. Viceroy Istanbul is scheduled to open in late 2013, and will mark Viceroy Hotel Group’s first European property and second hotel project in Turkey after the Viceroy Bodrum, which is currently under development and set to open in 2014.