Movenpick Hotels & Resorts will open a new property in Basra early this year to capitalise on the city’s status as Iraq’s economic capital and a regional oil-and-gas hub.The global hospitality firm has signed a deal with Akeel Ibraheem Al-Khalidy of Basra Council to manage the five-star Movenpick Hotel Basra, a 152-room property that is on track to open its doors in the first quarter of the year.Located in the centre of Basra, within the commercial district of Al Baradi’yah and 25 kilometres west of Basra International Airport, it will fill a gap in the market for upscale hotels.“Basra is one of the Middle East’s fastest-growing economic centres, a major oil producer and is undergoing rapid infrastructure development, so the time is right for Movenpick to cement its presence in this flourishing city,” said President and chief executive Olivier Chavy.“Our upcoming property will cater to pent-up demand from the corporate sector, which contributes around 90 per cent of hotel demand in Basra due to the high volume of oil and gas and shipping companies based in this booming region of Iraq.”Al-Khalidy, chairman of South Group Corp and Basra Council’s Committee on Economic Development and Investment, noted there are “tens of thousands of foreign workers and businessmen” travelling in and out of the city every day “and thousands more based in the city”.“Movenpick Hotel Basra will be well placed to provide them with high-quality business, dining and leisure facilities and accommodation that set new hospitality standards in this thriving area of Iraq.”