Dubai retail giant Landmark Group will open more than ten new hotels under its mid-market Citymax brand over the next four to five years.

Landmark, owned by billionaire Mickey Jagtiani, currently operates a trio of three-star properties in Dubai and Sharjah. According to the CEO of Landmark’s hospitality division, the new hotels will be across the UAE and in other GCC countries including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar.

“We have a plan of expanding to about ten to 15 properties in the next four to five years,” Praveen Bhatnagar told Arabian Business.

“Currently we’re operating at 90%-plus occupancy. That’s given us the confidence of expanding and looking for more opportunities in the GCC region.”

He added that there were, “a couple of negotiations that are happening” for new hotels in the UAE, with the first new property due to open within the six months. Within the UAE, Landmark plans to open properties in Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah and Abu Dhabi and would seek to take advantage of package tourism to the emirates.

Bhatnagar said that some of the properties would be owned and operated by Landmark, while others would be run as joint ventures, depending on local regulations.

He added that the company was also seeking opportunities to convert existing properties to the Citymax brand. “Generally when it comes to freehold properties we’d like to develop and own the property ourselves.”

Landmark established Citymax in 2008 to serve the mid-market hospitality sector in Dubai, which Bhatnagar said is currently underserved. “Midmarket hotels usually make up 34% to 35% of the inventory, but in the GCC it is much lower – it’s in the range of about 11% to 12%,” he said.

As part of Dubai’s plan to broaden its appeal as a global tourism destination, officials in the emirate say they are seeking to attract 20m visitors per year by 2020.

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