UAE hospitality industry continues to expand

DUBAI - UAE's hospitality industry is growing rapidly due to flourishing tourism in the emirates. Last year, Dubai played host to a record 4.98 million guests. This sector provided almost 98,000 jobs in 2003 and contributed around 2.16 per cent of the GDP, accounting for around Dh293.1 billion, according to Ministry of Planning.

By Moushumi Das Chaudhury

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Published: Sun 4 Jul 2004, 9:54 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 11:54 AM

Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) has announced that the Dubai hospitality industry has kept up its growth levels by posting a modest five per cent increase in the number of guests last year despite Iraq war and negative global trends.

As per sources from the hotel industry, "Almost all the hotels are aggressively expanding as Dubai's tourist sector is a key plank in ambitious plans to attract 15 million visitors by 2010 and 40 million by the year 2015. The reasons for the boom in hospitality industry is that, UAE has an excellent infrastructure and air-connectivity which boosts the rapid growth in this sector."

According to statistics, last year, there was an increase of 32 per cent in hotel guests and 27 per cent from the Russia, CIS and Baltic region. An eight per cent growth in European guests was recorded with a total of 1.29 million tourists and a total of 276,683 guests came from the non-Arab African countries.

Even Sharjah recorded a 25 per cent growth in the number of hotel guests which crossed 850,000 last year. Three new five star hotels are to be built in the coming years in Sharjah and Coral International, a new hotel chain has been launched by a group of Sharjah based and foreign investors.

According to published reports, Earlier this year, Le Meridien acquired an existing property in Dubai, Le Meridien Fairway which is operating under the management of Le Meridien Dubai. Le Meridien opened a number of small hotels and hotel apartments buildings in Dubai and construction work for the Grosvenor Hotel and apartments are in full swing. It will provide 218 rooms and 206 hotel apartments under the new Le Meridien sub-brand.

The Abu Dhabi based Rotana will build three hotels on Dubai's Shaikh Zayed Road. The Al Murooj Rotana Hotel with 253 rooms and 147 apartments will be located behind the Dusit Dubai and the Dubai International Financial Centre. Rotana Villas will be located near the Crown Plaza Hotel and the five star Jumeirah Amwaj Rotana will also be operated by the Rotana group, as per media reports.

Istithmar PSJC , one of the leading investment house based in Dubai, and Kerzner International Limited , an international developer and operator of destination resorts and luxury hotel properties, have entered into an agreement which would enable the parties to develop Atlantis, The Palm and is expected to utilise most of the 120-acre site that lies on The Palm, Jumeirah. The marine and entertainment attractions will be increased and a second 800-room hotel tower will be added, bringing the total number of rooms to 2,000.

According to Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, chairman of Istithmar, "Dubai's tourism industry has shown excellent growth over recent years. The increase of our investment in Atlantis, The Palm reflects our overwhelming confidence in the success of the special project and overall commitment to pursuing the opportunities within high growth sectors, such as hospitality industry and the real estate sector."

The Intercontinental Hotels Group has also confirmed one more hotel in this region at the Dubai Festival City and 20 budget hotels in the Gulf region. The InterContinental Dubai also expanded with two more restaurants and the Intercontinental Abu Dhabi won the best business hotel award.

In Fujairah, Travo Group holdings, a joint Egyptian -German company is also planning a project to build two adjacent Ibertol resorts in Al Aqah, with 900 rooms and will be inaugurated in 2006, according to sources.

Alongwith this, Abu Dhabi National Hotels (ADNH) owner of prestigious chain hotels run by Hilton, Sheraton and Le Meridien recently announced its purchase of a five star hotel at Jumeirah Beach Residence and the National Corporation for Tourism and Hotels (NCT&H) in Abu Dhabi will also open two new hotels by the end of 2004.

Even, Ras Al Khaimah is building a Dh34 million five star hotel and resort in Khatt village as the hotel business is thriving in the UAE with high occupancy rates and tourists are even visiting the UAE during summer season.

According to sources from the Hotel Industry, in the UAE there is still room for more hotels as the emirates are becoming popular among Soviets and other visitors from all parts of the world.

Experts believe that the market will never get saturated no matter how many properties are developed as the UAE is growing year-on-year and has already become popular in the AGCC region.

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