Rotana announces expansion plans in Saudi Arabia

Updated 09 February 2018
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Rotana announces expansion plans in Saudi Arabia

Rotana, a leading hotel management company in the region, has laid out plans for aggressive expansion of its portfolio in the Kingdom.
Rotana has planned five hotels in major cities across the country to add more than 1,150 keys to its already strong portfolio, the company’s chief operating officer Guy Hutchinson said on the sidelines of the Rotana Hotels 2018 GCC Roadshow.
He said the aim is to contribute to the country’s efforts to achieve its goals outlined in the Saudi Vision 2030, and its initiatives aimed at promoting the domestic tourism sector, including the Red Sea coastline project.
With its rapidly growing economy, the Kingdom is one of the fastest growing markets for Rotana, which currently operates four hotels and 1,258 rooms in Riyadh, Jeddah and Makkah.
Rotana has planned to open four new hotels under its “Centro by Rotana” brand in Riyadh, Jeddah, Alkhobar and Madinah. Another hotel, Dana Rayhaan by Rotana, will open in Dammam. The company already has more than 500 keys at two operating hotels for budget-conscious travelers in Riyadh and Jeddah.
Hutchinson said: “Travel and tourism continued to be one of the world’s fastest-growing sectors in 2017, and the outlook for the industry in 2018 remains robust, given the anticipated increase in the number of travelers from developing and emerging countries and rising disposable income of people coupled with their yearning for unique experiences.
“Increasing airline competition that has brought down the cost of travel, and strong demand for business travel will further drive growth in the sector. Driven by recent reforms and the country’s endeavors to diversify its economy, the hospitality sector in the Kingdom is headed for a growth it has never seen. The initiatives such as the $500 billion Red Sea coastline project and plans to issue tourism visas will accelerate the country’s economic diversification to achieve less reliance on oil and transform it into a global tourism destination.
“We have diversified our portfolio to match the needs of travelers of all kinds, and with our strong market presence and unique offering, Rotana is well-positioned to capitalize on the booming growth of the sector in the Kingdom,” Hutchinson concluded.


’Air Cocaine’ smuggling trial starts in France

French Jean Fauret (R) and Bruno Odos (C), respectively pilot and co-pilot, arrive on February 18, 2019 at the Assize Court of Aix-En-Provence, southern France ahead of a court hearing in the trial over 'Air Cocaine' plot to smuggle planeload of drugs. (AFP)
Updated 4 min 14 sec ago
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’Air Cocaine’ smuggling trial starts in France

  • Only one suspect, Ali Bouchareb, is in detention in the case while the other eight were granted bail pending the trial

AIX-EN-PROVENCE, France: Two former French air force pilots went on trial in France on Monday six years after they fled the Dominican Republic following a spectacular drugs bust on a private jet in the Caribbean nation.
In what has become known as the “Air Cocaine” case, Pascal Fauret and Bruno Odos are accused along with seven other defendants of trying to smuggle 680 kilogrammes (1,500 pounds) of the drug out of the country.
Dominican police found the narcotics packed into 26 suitcases onboard a Falcon 50 jet as it prepared to fly from the Dominican beach resort of Punta Cana to Saint-Tropez in the south of France in March 2013.
While out on bail, the two men managed to flee the Dominican Republic to French territory in the Caribbean in mysterious circumstances, but were re-arrested upon their return to the French mainland in November 2015.
They, along with two passengers, were found guilty in absentia and sentenced to 20 years in jail for drug-trafficking in the Dominican Republic in 2015.
All of them deny they knew that the cocaine was on board the flight.
The French court will hear scores of witnesses and experts over seven weeks and the defendants face up to 30 years in prison.
Only one suspect, Ali Bouchareb, is in detention in the case while the other eight were granted bail pending the trial.