Ho­tel merger will bring jobs boost to UAE

Star­wood merger will see 6,000 new jobs in UAE

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE - By Pa­trick Ryan @ThatPad­dyRyan pa­trick@7days.ae

The merger between ho­tel gi­ants Mar­riott In­ter­na­tional and Star­wood Ho­tels and Re­sorts World­wide will re­sult in the con­struc­tion of 22 new ho­tels in the UAE alone.

The new prop­er­ties – which will also bring 6,000 new jobs to the UAE – were con­firmed by Alex Kyr­i­akidis, Pres­i­dent and Man­ag­ing Direc­tor, Mid­dle East and Africa for Mar­riott In­ter­na­tional, yes­ter­day.

Kyr­i­akidis said the new jobs will be cre­ated over the course of the next four years with a to­tal of 30,000 be­ing cre­ated in the Mid­dle East and North African (MENA) re­gion.

The $13 bil­lion ac­qui­si­tion of the Star­wood group on Fri­day means Mar­riott In­ter­na­tional now counts ho­tels such as the Sher­a­ton, Westin, W and St Regis in its port­fo­lio.

Mar­riott In­ter­na­tional said the merger makes it the big­gest ho­tel op­er­a­tor in the world.

Speak­ing at a news con­fer­ence at Dubai’s JW Mar­riott Mar­quis, the com­pany’s flag­ship ho­tel in the Mid­dle East, Kyr­i­akidis said he is con­fi­dent about the future of the com­pany.

“Each and ev­ery em­ployee has a big­ger and brighter future now,” he said.

“We are now by far and away the largest op­er­a­tor in the MENA area with 52,000 rooms.

“We are also lead­ing the pack in the UAE and will have 80 prop­er­ties there by 2025 with more than 23,000 rooms.

“At the mo­ment there are 58 prop­er­ties with 17,000 rooms.”

He said the merger with Star­wood means Mar­riott In­ter­na­tional has taken a huge leap for­ward in terms of scale.

“This is a new and ex­cit­ing era but the fo­cus right now is on our peo­ple,” he said. “This com­pany is go­ing to be one of the most sig­nif­i­cant em­ploy­ers in the UAE. “There will be job op­por­tu­ni­ties for ex­pats and strong prospects for lo­cals as well.” He said that to merge the two com­pa­nies and as­sim­i­late the dif­fer­ent busi­ness mod­els will cost Mar­riott In­ter­na­tional in the re­gion of $140 mil­lion. “By do­ing the likes of re­plac­ing sys­tems we will re­duce costs by $250 mil­lion so there will be a bet­ter flow of syn­er­gies.” The merger was com­pleted on Fri­day night. Kyr­i­akidis de­scribed it as an op­por­tu­nity that could not be missed. “I re­mem­ber just one year ago us sit­ting around a room and be­ing in­vited to pitch for the Star­wood group,” he said. “It was in­cred­i­ble to see the re­ac­tion in the room. This was a once-in-al­ife­time op­por­tu­nity to cre­ate the big­gest and best hospi­tal­ity com­pany in the world.” Both Mar­riott and Star­wood have their own loy­alty pro­grammes – with a com­bined mem­ber­ship world­wide of 85 mil­lion mem­bers. It has been con­firmed that both schemes will re­main in­tact – but cus­tomers will be able to in­ter­change between the two.

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