Ishraq expands in Georgia; focuses on sustainability

Ishraq showcased its commitment to sustainability and community engagement initiatives at Arabian Travel Market 2024

Ishraq Hospitality, the asset management and hospitality arm of the Mohamed & Obaid AlMulla Group, has exciting new developments in the pipeline.

Speaking to TTN, Joseph Karam, COO at Ishraq Hospitality, highlighted the group’s plans to open two new hotels in Batumi, Georgia: the Crowne Plaza Beach Batumi, featuring 130 rooms and suites, and a hotel apartment complex with 240 rooms.

“We’re eagerly anticipating the addition of Crowne Plaza Beach Batumi to our portfolio. This inclusion underscores our commitment to expanding our footprint in strategic markets and providing top-tier accommodations for discerning travelers,” said Karam.

The company is also exploring opportunities in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, with ongoing discussions for potential new ventures. In Saudi Arabia, Ishraq is focusing on managing third-party properties. “While we won’t be building more hotels, we will manage additional properties, leveraging our success with eight international chain hotels to replicate this model,” Karam explained.

At the Arabian Travel Market, Ishraq showcased its commitment to sustainability and community engagement initiatives, announcing its 2024 Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) updates. These updates highlighted significant progress in building more sustainable, diverse, and equitable communities in the region.

“We are thrilled to participate once again at the Arabian Travel Market and proud to share our ESG updates for this year. Protecting our planet is paramount, and I’m proud of our group’s overall efforts,” said Karam.

Some of the notable achievements highlighted included:

• Planting 2,700 trees through Tree-Nation

• Participation in various campaigns supporting beach and desert cleaning, UAE Food Bank and blood donation

• Achieving a reduction of more than 50% in single plastic consumption

• Implementing eco-friendly gifting practices

• Reducing paper consumption by 60% and energy consumption by 2%

• Two hotels achieving the Sustainability Stamp in 2023 under the bronze and silver categories

“The transition to sustainable practices extends beyond our hotels; it involves raising awareness among our guests as well,” Karam emphasised.

He described 2023 as an exceptional year for the group’s eight properties and shared optimistic projections for 2024. “The first quarter of this year has already surpassed last year’s performance in business, average rates, and occupancy,” he noted.

Ishraq Hospitality is focusing on strategic partnerships and client engagements to sustain its momentum. “We have a comprehensive plan to navigate through the summer season,” Karam added.

Discussing market trends, Karam highlighted the importance of sustainability and digitalization. “These trends are integral to our operations, and the influence of millennials is significant. They challenge us with fresh perspectives and drive innovation,” he said. Ishraq Hospitality leverages this by providing training and empowering young professionals to lead sustainability projects.

In terms of guest experiences, Ishraq Hospitality is expanding its offerings to include varied packages tailored to different locations and seasons. “We are expanding our offerings to include spas and wellness services, with four new spas managed by third-party professionals,” Karam revealed.