Dubai – MENA Herald: Cristal Group has entered into a management agreement with HARCO Erbil, represented by Mr. Mustafa Hariri, to operate the first Emerald in Erbil. It is the group’s second property in Erbil and its third in Iraq.

Making the announcement, Mr. Kamal Fakhoury, COO of Cristal Group, stated, “Emerald is our Mid market brand and we are proud to debut it in Kurdistan within the Lebanese Village development that will in fact be the first signature property to carry the Emerald flag. Erbil is an attractive hub for business as well as leisure travelers and is one of the safest destinations in Iraq. We are extremely grateful to HARCO Erbil for having given us the opportunity to manage Emerald Erbil and are confident it will be a great new addition to the existing range of accommodation options in the city.”

Mr Hariri, said, “The Lebanese Village is a very significant project for us and we are pleased to work with the Cristal Group on this exciting new development. At the moment we are witnessing remarkable growth in tourism in Kurdistan that has resulted in increasing demand for quality mid-market hotels and we are confident, Emerald Erbil will establish itself as a preferred choice in the sector”.

The Emerald is part of a massive 240,000 sq.m mixed use development in Erbil and will feature 196 well-appointed hotel apartment suites. On site will be four superb dining outlets, three meeting rooms, gym, Cristal Spa and a retail centre. The phase one of the hotel is expected to be ready for operation from September 1, 2016.

Cristal Group will be rolling out its budget brand further with planned developments in the UAE, KSA, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Iraq. Mr Fakhoury, said, “GCC and the Levant region remain the main focus of our expansion strategy where we have several amazing hotels in the development pipeline”.

Besides an increasing number of business travellers, Erbil also attracts tourists: The city is famous for its archaeological citadel which dates back to 600 years B.C. It is said that the site is the oldest continuously inhabited town in the world. Recently, the citadel was included among the 100 most endangered cultural sites in the world by the World Monument Fund.