The insurance problem brought us together with Koc.
Sarp Turanligil, owner of Elegan group, told that they initially concluded an agreement with Kempinski for the investment amounting to 104 million Dollars while operation of the hotel in Erbil was undertaken by Divan, that this group withdrew the investment since there was no insurance in the country and then they agreed with Koc group. He expressed that the major investment firms rushed into the region upon the start of the insurance transactions in the meantime and said: “Kempinski, Marriott, Swiss Hotel and Sheraton, which are the international chains, come for investment. Two of them started construction. However, start of their service would last 5 years”.
THE INVESTMENT AMOUNTING TO 104 MILLION DOLLARS TARGETS A TURNOVER OF 50 MILLION DOLLARS PER YEAR
Divan, which took the first step in Erbil, was followed by four giant chains
Divan, which undersigned the major initiative of the Northern Iraq in this field with the Luxury hotel investment, also led solution of the insurance problem in the region. Kempinski, Marriott, Swiss and Sheraton, which saw it, decided for investment successively.
Divan chain of hotels of Koc group, which has a history for 56 years in the tourism field, started the first foreign operation with the “5a” star (category between 5- and 7-star) hotel in the city of Erbil of the Northern Iraq. Divan, which targets 26 hotels by 2016, shall continue its foreign investments with the feet of Baku and Budapest. Divan desires to use the advantage of entering in Erbil earlier than the challenging international brand chains of the field. Its annual turnover target is 50 million Dollars.
Northern Iraq Prime Minister Necirvan Barzani, Koc Holding Board Chairman Mustafa Koc, Boyner Holding Board Chairman Cem Boyner, TUSIAD Chairman Umit Boyner, Head of Koc Holding Tourism, Food and Retail Group Tamer Hasimoglu, Head of Energy Group Erol Memioglu and many senior representatives of the group participated in the official opening which took place by participation of more than 2 thousand 500 invitees the night before. Tamer Hasimoglu said in his conversation meeting before the opening that Baku (Azerbaijan) and Budapest (Hungary) hotels shall be opened this year following Erbil.
16 new hotels are coming
Divan, which has currently reached 10 hotels, prepares to add Adana, Gaziantep, Diyarbakir and Istanbul (Gunesli) hotels in the chain internally.
Hasimoglu who said “Our target is 26 hotels by 2016 stated that they targeted to expand to the major metropolitan cities of the world and developing cities of Turkey, having a business potential, with Divan Express hotels with the business hotel concept being the sub-brands in addition to Divan brands.
When Hasimoglu, who summarized the foreign target as the countries in the region, was asked: “Is a purchase possible in Europe which is in problem if an opportunity is available ?, he said: “We shall penetrate if there is an hotel to meet our expectation. We have studies”.
Why Northern Iraq?
Hasimoglu, who gave information about Erbil investment, said: “It is the fourth largest city of Iraq with a population of 2 million people. It has been and is being a center with an increasing commercial importance. 3 Turkish airway companies make 20 trips per week and 16 airway companies departed to 23 destination. The airport has a capacity of 2.5 million persons and uses a capacity of 1-1.5 million now.”
They brought sushi to the Northern Iraq
The room prices at the hotel, which shall also provide long-term accommodation service, start from 255 Dollars. Marcos Bekhit, General Manager of Divan chain, however, explained the income expected by them as 50 million Dollars. Bekhit, who expressed that the room prices is lower than Istanbul now but the prices shall increase over the time, told that the sushi restaurant, opened by them at the hotel, is a premier in Erbil and attracts high interest. Hasimoglu said that 2011 was a very good year compared to 2010 and that they achieved a growth of 20 percent. He told that they expect a growth of 25 – 30 percent this year since their growth plans would be rapidly implemented in 2012. Hasimoglu expressed that the group’s tourism turnover reached 1 billion Dollars.
King room with a value of 15 thousand $
The king room fee is 15 thousand Dollars per month at Divan Erbil with 228 rooms. In the king room with a top model BMW automobile and all kinds of free services, the first guest was a Southern Korea petroleum business man. A free shop store was also opened at the hotel and tax-free shopping is made at an appropriate price with the passport.
The giant ball hall at the hotel is ornamented by Beymen investment. At the store where the international brand products are sold in addition to Beymen, bags priced at 7 thousand Dollars and clothes priced at 5 thousand Dollars are sold like hot cakes within the first 10 days. New orders were placed. The store expects a turnover of 10 million Dollars per year.