Howard Johnson expands in Middle East

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CAIRO--U.S. hotel giant Howard Johnson will make the Middle East feel at home next month when it opens hotels in Lebanon, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. The new ventures mark the chain's dramatic expansion in this area, from a single hotel in Dubai to a total of five in the Middle East by the year's end.

The company's move to Beirut follows the wave of international companies returning as Lebanon slowly rebuilds after years of civil war. "Beirut is a very busy place and you need to have Howard Johnsons all over, " says Ashraf Khan, VP-operations for Eram Franchise Systems, which overseas HoJo's Persian Gulf area operations.

Rabih Hayat, a manager for HoJo's Grand Hotel in Beirut -- one of two hotels the franchise will open in Lebanon -- says an ad campaign will be launched within the next week or two. The hotel has not yet selected an ad agency.

The other hotels will debut in Muscat, Oman and the Emirates city of Sharjah.

HoJo's has more than 550 hotels worldwide, including properties in Israel and Malta. The company recently cinched a franchise agreement to bring its hotels to China.

Copyright November 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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