by Cheryl-Anne Sturken | April 26, 2016

Paris-based Louvre Hotels Group, which Greenwhich, Conn-based Starwood Capital Group sold in November 2014 to Chinese real-estate company Jin Jang International Holdings, says it is looking to expand its presence in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)  by opening 40 budget and economy hotels over the next five years.

Driving the group's expansion in the region will be two of its midmarket brands - Première Classe, a limited-service budget hotel that focuses on comfort, connectivity and convenience; and Campanile, a budget brand. "The new hotels aim to fill the existing gap in the budget and economy segment," said Louvre's Rami Moukarzel, vice president, development and acquisitions, MENA, in a statement announcing the expansion plans. "Louvre Hotels already has a formidable footprint in MENA, managing 60 hotels and more than 8,000 guest rooms, and our experience and presence in the region has ensured we understand better the needs and dynamics of diverse regional markets."

Première Classe will open its first hotel in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in 2018, while the first of many Campanile properties in the region will be announced in the coming months and also will debut in 2018. Moukarzel said Louvre sees potential to develop a footprint for Première Classe and Campanile in primary, secondary and even tertiary markets, such as Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar, adding the brands will be targeting both leisure and corporate guests.

"Première Classe and Campanile are both globally established names, and in bringing these brands to the region, we aim to redefine conventional notions of what a budget or economy hotel should be, by offering guests quality-focused serviced hotels that combine comfort, convenience and technology amenities in an affordable package," Moukarzel said. Together, the two brands currently have a combined global portfolio of some 650 properties.