The US-headquartered Marriott International hotel chain has expressed optimism about returning to the Iranian market after a three-decade hiatus, the UAE's Gulf News reported on December 7.
Marriott's flagship hotel in the Iranian capital was seized along with other foreign hotels following the Iranian Revolution in 1979; the company never managed to retrieve their assets following their ousting. The US firm's original hotel in Tehran is now called the Parsian Azadi Evin, which recently had an overhaul to bring it up to international standards.
Marriott is the latest of several global hotel chains to announce an interest in the Iranian market. However, sanctions remain on US companies doing business in the Islamic Republic, and so far no other US hotel group has expressed any interest in re-entering the Iranian market, including Hilton, Holiday Inn and InterContinental, which also had their property seized and nationalized following the 1979 revolution.
Marriott's Alex Kyriakidis, president and managing director for the Middle East and Africa, said that his firm is "very keen" to enter the Iranian market, pending the removing of legal barriers to US trade.
"Today, Marriott International, being a United States publicly floated the company, is precluded from doing business in Iran. Depending on what happens in the future and what agreements are reached between the United States and Iran, if the doors open legally to do business in Iran, we would be very keen to pursue that opportunity," he said.
Other hotel firms, mainly European and East Asian hotel chains, have already entered the market including France's Accor Hotels and Spain's Melia Hotel Group.