Published on : Tuesday, September 8, 2020
Ascott the Residences has disclosed ambitious growth plans for Saudi Arabia, regardless of the pandemic.
Vincent Miccolis, Ascott’s regional GM for Middle East, Africa, Turkey and India informed Arabian Business that the company, having almost 120,000 units’ world over, along with properties in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman, among a sundry of others worldwide, is primarily eyeing in KSA like new properties in Riyadh and Al Khobar, between Q2 and Q4 2021, along with one in Jeddah, and possibly pushing forward the opening of residences in Abha, in the south west of the country, from 2022 to 2023.
Miccolis explained that openings holdup due to current coronavirus situation, but at present it plans to increase the footprint of the company in Saudi Arabia. To quote him, “The strength of Saudi Arabia, we’ll be there next year. They’re doing a fantastic job in promoting the country, all the cultural and heritage sites that the country has to offer, apart from the business side.”
In spite of the borders of KSA remaining closed to foreign tourists, Miccolis disclosed that occupancy levels at their properties are 70 percent in some areas, boosted up by the demand from the Saudi population.
“You’d be surprised at what’s happening in Saudi Arabia. The domestic market has been helping out quite drastically to offset the fact that we can’t welcome international travellers and I think Saudi will continue to do that for us,” he said.
“The owner (at Abha) called me last week and said, ‘Vincent, our Abha property, the domestic market is crazy. People are sleeping in their cars. We are going to put more resources to open quicker. We’re supposed to open in 2022, we’ll try to open end of Q2, or beginning of Q3, 2021’.”
In the region, the company in 2014 operated four properties. That has since grown to 12, with an additional 12 planned to open, including properties in Africa.
He said: “I can’t complain. It was time for survival, I had to make sure we stayed afloat, now it’s time really to be positive again. I managed to keep all my team, everybody’s been happy with the group. There have been no lay-offs, no cuts, so now it’s fighting back mode and we really want to continue the growth.”
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