Dr Shoukry Rozek, who owns the Happy Life group of hotels and resorts in Egypt, told BigHospitality he decided to invest in Europe because of the impact of revolution on Egypt’s tourist economy.
He chose the UK in particular because of the opportunity to apply for an entrepreneur visa, which offers citizenship in just five years for those investing in the UK.
“I found Llandudno attractive, with a good atmosphere and clear market - old retired people – who are a stable market in my opinion, they have good purchasing power and will come all year around,” he said.
“I think that there is also a possibility to reach other segments in the summer, such as families, because Llandudno is a seaside resort.”
The sale of the hotel was handled by Fleurets, which put the property on the market with an asking price of £525,000.
Lesley Watmough, divisional director of Fleurets’ regional office in Manchester said: “This is a good opportunity for Dr Shoukry to put his hotel experience gained in Egypt to use in one of the most popular resorts in North Wales.”
3 star plans
Rozek has big plans for the Brig y Don, which is prominently located on the promenade of the seaside town and features three lounge bars, one with a ballroom, a dining room for 60 covers and a parking area as well as 31 en-suite bedrooms.
“The hotel is in a brilliant position in the centre of town and is a beautiful old Victorian building, but it is currently unrated,” explained Rozek.
“My target is to get an official 3 star rating, so I will take advice on how to achieve that and plan my renovations accordingly.”
Plans for the restaurant are still in progress, although Rozek hopes to offer a multi-national breakfast and dinner buffet, with an a la carte menu of sorts.
Rozek says that if all goes well with the Brig y Don, he will invest further in the UK hotel market.
“My plan is to grow the business further in the UK if I can see success in this project,” he said.
Earlier this month, BigHospitality reported that there has been a resurgence of investment in the UK hotel sector, with a good proportion coming from the Middle East.
Unrest in countries such as Syria and Egypt means increasing numbers of entrepreneurs in the region are looking for opportunities to invest and emigrate abroad, and the UK government is keen to attract their intellectual and financial capital.
The UK entrepreneur visa was introduced as part of a drive to increase foreign investment, and is available to foreign nationals who want to invest in the UK by setting up or taking over, and being actively involved in the running, of one or more business.
The initial visa offers those with sufficient capital to invest in a business three years right to remain in the UK, and if the applicant can demonstrate they meet certain criteria in that time they can apply for a further two year visa extension. Following the five years the applicant has the option to apply for permanent residency.
Entrepreneurs who create 10 jobs or generate a turnover of £5m can accelerate their permanent residency application.