Britain’s easyHotel to expand into Iran

The New York Times – Britain’s easyHotel has reached an agreement with developers to open more than 500 rooms in Iran, joining other foreign chains that have moved into the country since the lifting of sanctions.

The budget chain, which was launched by easyJet founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou in 2004, now operates in Britain, six other European countries and the United Arab Emirates.

“There are a number of hotel companies that are looking to expand into Iran. We’re looking to develop in the Middle East, and it made sense for us to take this opportunity,” easyHotel Chief Executive Guy Parsons told Reuters.

Other chains to have moved into Iran since the lifting of sanctions include France’s Accor, Spain’s Melia Hotels International and several hotel companies based in the Gulf.

“We’re comfortable that now is the right time to go … But we’re going to keep monitoring the situation and discussing it with the franchisee and developer in Iran,” he said.

Relations between Iran and Britain have often been fraught though there has been a gradual improvement in recent years, helped by Iran’s nuclear deal with major world powers that led to international economic sanctions being lifted in 2016.