Carlson Rezidor is to open a Radisson Blu Hotel in Erbil, in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, following a sighing with South Kurdistan Group (SKG) in Dubai on September 6.
The hotel, scheduled to open in 2017, is the group’s first in the region where the likes of Millennium Group and Rotana already operate.
Signing the contract in Dubai on September 6 with chairperson of SKG, Kawa Faeq Ali and CEO of Coral Hotels and Tourism Consultancy, Ibrahim Saady, Mark Willis, regional president, Rezidor Hotel Group, said: “It has taken nearly a year to get to the point we are at today but it’s a positive step for the business and we look forward to opening this hotel. The majority of hotels in Kurdistan are locally owned and unbranded and fall short of international traveller expectation.
Located 2.5km from Iraq Kurdistan Parliament and only 3km from the international airport, the upper upscale hotel will offer 260 rooms, an all day dining restaurant, specialty restaurant, a lobby bar, meeting rooms, ballroom, gym and spa. Carlson Rezidor is currently aiming to staff the hotel almost entirely through local talent already based in Erbil.
While there is no prediction as to how many jobs the new hotel will create, Willis insisted the group would position itself as a local employer, with little to no talent imported from nearby markets.
He said: “Anybody who goes into these emerging markets, they believe they can bring in international staff but it just never works out and we learned that the hard way through experience. Look to markets like Chad and Nigeria and you see the model that works best. We endeavor to recruit on personality, rather than skill set and then train, and we will be positioning ourselves as a local employer, rather than flying people in from other hotels.”