Emirati Day celebrated in New York in honour of the UAE’s Golden Jubilee.
Al Khoory Sky Garden hotel is located on a plot of land where the Emirati group had started its business operations in 1971 – the year the UAE was formed.
Now, 50 years on, the group has recreated history with its new hotel – just a few days before the UAE National Day on December 2 when the country charts a new beginning for the next 50 years.
As the UAE gears up to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of its foundation, the Al Khoory family has opened its sixth property — Sky Garden hotel. The group’s hospitality arm, Al Khoory Hotels, has opened the property at the heart of Deira, where it all started.
The location where the hotel stands, used to be known as Port Saeed area that stretches to the banks of Dubai Creek. It’s walking distance from the then Al Khoory Group office and yard, where wooden merchant boats used to transport goods to and from India’s economic gateway Mumbai; Karachi, Pakistan; Bandar Abbas, Iran; and other harbours in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
Dubai Creek and Port Saeed used to provide the economic lifeline to Dubai – then a trading outpost – before Port Rashid in Shindagha became a major harbour. The wooden boats (dhows) can still be seen ferrying goods to and from their berths at Dubai Creek, next to Al Maktoum Bridge where Dubai Customs has its operations.
The emirate’s economic landscape started to expand on both sides of Dubai Creek due to the hectic trading activities.
Khaleej Times spoke to Abdullah Khoory, vice-chairman of Al Khoory Group, about the “group’s strong commitment to the UAE economy and especially the tourism sector”.
Edited excerpts from the interview:
How diversified is the Al Khoory Group? What are its major business interests?
Al Khoory Group is a well-diversified Emirati family-owned business conglomerate with interests in real estate, automotive, equipment trading, engineering consultancy services, environment, waste management, tourism and hospitality sectors. The company assembles water pumps, electric control panels, waste disposal bins, chutes and electric generators. The group has established its presence all over the UAE, Oman and Qatar.
The vision and foresight of Mohammed Tayyeb Khoory, chairman, Al Khoory Group, has been transformed into reality by his sons, who have ensured high-quality specialised services, highly skilled workforce, professional management and a commitment towards a constant improvement in the standard of services. These factors have combined to make the group a success and one of the most well-respected business houses in the UAE.
Al Khoory Group comprises six major companies, including Mohammed Tayyeb Khoory Sons; Aikah for General Trading; Al Khoory Automobiles; Mohammed Tayyeb Khoory Real Estate; Al Baha Engineering Consultants and Al Khoory Hotels.
Which sectors do you foresee emerging stronger in the post-Covid-19 pandemic world and why?
We firmly believe in long-term sustainability of the UAE economy. While some industries might do better than others, all the sectors will continue to grow at their own pace. Among the group portfolio, we see both hospitality and real estate sectors as the sectors that will grow faster than others.
The UAE’s unique selling propositions (USPs) – such as world-class infrastructure and connectivity with the rest of the world, quality of life, safety and security, ease in doing business, etc, will continue to attract visitors and investors and it will help create more well-paid jobs in key sectors. Dubai’s economy depends on tourism, retail and trade and there is a pent-up demand in these sectors. So, the businesses in these sectors will continue to thrive.
How is the UAE’s hospitality sector shaping up on the back of the pandemic for two consecutive years?
It has picked up so well that the hotel occupancy and room rates have jumped to a pre-2019 level. Most hotels who conceded losses due to the pandemic from March 2020 till April 2021, have started to recover the losses and they will fully come out of it next year. As the UAE opened its borders for vaccinated visitors, the country’s tourism industry started to thrive thanks to Expo 2020 – which is helping attract more visitors to the UAE. So, the hospitality sector is shaping up well for the next phase of growth.
Has Expo 2020 Dubai made a difference in boosting tourism?
A lot. The bookings from September onwards have picked up partly due to Expo 2020 Dubai. Besides, those who could not travel for 18 months due to Covid-19, have now started to travel.
What are your existing properties in the hospitality sector?
Al Khoory Hotels made its debut in 2008 and now operates six properties in different parts of Dubai. One more property is getting ready for business. As a UAE homegrown hospitality brand, Al Khoory Hotels offers guests the unique experience of hospitality at some of the finest hotels and hotel apartments in Dubai.
Al Khoory Hotels is going to open one more property in the UAE in the next few months while two more hotels are currently being developed in Oman – which will double its hospitality portfolio – within a short span of time. The existing hotels are strategically located near important business centres including Business Bay, the Dubai World Trade Center (DWTC) and the Expo 2020 site, as well as top leisure and entertainment destinations, such as Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa, Mall of the Emirates, La Mer, Jumeirah beach and Al Fahidi Historical District. Our hotels’ convenient location and ease of access to public transport and the Dubai Metro make them the perfect choice for business travellers as well as vacationers.
Al Khoory Hotels are managed by Al Khoory Hospitality, a subdivision of the Al Khoory Group, a conglomerate with diverse interests in different business sectors. The group's business interests lie in real estate, automotive, environment, engineering services, consultancy, hospitality and general trading activities, etc.
How are you planning to expand?
We have one new property that is in the process of opening for business in the next few months. Besides, we have two new properties that are getting ready to be launched in Oman next year.
What is the USP of your latest property Sky Gardens?
Ideal location. It is located at the heart of Dubai city, next to Deira City Centre, close to the metro station and Dubai International Airport. It has easy access to public transport networks. Besides, it’s a family hotel with a number of built-in energy efficient and sustainability features.
How is the government supporting the hospitality sector?
The tourism department is providing wonderful support to hotel and tour operators. They promote Dubai and the tourism industry on a global scale, and when tourists land in Dubai, we all benefit from hotel occupancy, consumption etc. Our business is growing because of the government’s proactive measures. We opened two new hotels since the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world. This is our group’s long-term commitment to the UAE economy.
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