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MENAFN - Khaleej Times - 30/06/2013
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(MENAFN - Khaleej Times)Emaar Properties and Meraas Holding have launched a new hotel development strategy to support Dubai's Tourism Vision 2020 and complements its bid to host Expo 2020.

The region's premier property developer in collaboration with a leading Dubai-based development company unveiled a new hotel brand - Dubai Inn - to meet growing demand from global travellers. The new brand hotels, focusing on the affordable segment, will be located in several locations around the city and supplement the growth in hospitality sector.

"One of the key drivers to achieving the Dubai Tourism Vision 2020, to double the number of annual tourists to 20 million by the turn of the decade, is to offer a wider choice of affordable hotels that appeal to the new generation of travellers," Mohamed Alabbar, Chairman of Emaar Properties, said in an-emailed statement to Khaleej Times on Saturday.

Announcing the strategy, he said that the 'Dubai Inn' would be stylishly designed by Emaar to create a new hotel experience that will be highlighted by affordable elegance.

Abdulla Al Habbai, Group Chairman of Meraas Holding, said Dubai is focused on further strengthening its tourism sector, a key contributor to the economy.

"As the city embarks on it ambitious tourism growth strategy, it is important to boost the hospitality sector with more affordable hotels to attract even larger numbers of tourists. We will develop affordable hotels with Emaar, under the new brand, to catalyse the city's hospitality sector," Al Habbai said.

Alabbar said the city has tremendous tourism growth potential that must be leveraged through hospitality offerings that meet the requirements of the diverse and changing global traveller profile.

"Our strategy is to build elegantly designed, high quality affordable hotels in several key locations in the city that will encourage more visitors, particularly short-haul travellers or passengers in transit, for extended stays to explore our city."

Today, five-star hotel rooms account for nearly 62 per cent of the total branded hotel inventory in the city. In the future supply pipeline of over 42,000 hotel rooms in Dubai also, nearly 50 per cent are in the luxury and upper upscale segments. "The new generation of travellers is more discerning and value-conscious, and it is important that our hospitality sector reflect their needs," he added.

"There is tremendous potential in Dubai for growth in the affordable hotel sector. By creating a robust pipeline of affordable hotels under the Dubai Inn brand, we plan to attract more visitors to our city from the fast-growing markets in the Asia-Pacific, Africa, Europe and the wider Middle East," said Alabbar.

"These hotels will also meet the demands of the exhibition and conference sector of the city, which is witnessing unprecedented growth, led by Dubai's status as a regional business hub and gateway to the wider Middle East and North Africa markets."

He explained that another key driver for the affordable hotel segment is the ongoing plans to develop a number of world-class theme parks in the city.

"Theme parks traditionally attract short-haul leisure seekers that come in family groups, and the central location of Emaar's Dubai Inn hotels, in close proximity to these leisure attractions will appeal to the visitors."

According to the Dubai Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing (DTCM), the city hosted over 10 million tourists last year, while the Dubai International Airport welcomed more than 58 million passengers. Today, the world's second busiest airport, Dubai is also one of the few global airline hubs providing non-stop connection to over 220 cities in six continents.

Emirates airline links the city to over 133 destinations, and carried 34 million passengers in 2012, highlighting the strong potential for Dubai's tourism and hospitality sector. The growth prospects is further bolstered with the rising popularity of low-cost airlines, with flydubai carrying over 5.1 million passengers last year, linking over 58 destinations.

Alabbar said that Emaar's approach complements the Expo 2020 bid by the city.

"His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has promised the most memorable World Expo, and outlined a clear infrastructure development roadmap to support the expected 25 million visitors if Dubai wins the bid. We are supporting the government's efforts by creating new hotel developments in the affordable sector."

Boosting the tourism sector of Dubai, Emaar currently owns and operates the five-star premium Address Hotels Resorts, which today features five hotels in Dubai.

Recording strong occupancy levels of 91 per cent in the first three months of this year, higher than the industry average, these hotels have played a significant role in promoting Dubai to tourists from around the world. Emaar has also launched the ultra-luxury Armani Hotels & Resorts, with two hotels in its portfolio - the flagship Armani Hotel Dubai, located in Burj Khalifa, and Armani Hotel Milano in Italy. Most recently, Emaar launched Vida Hotels and Resorts, a stylish boutique hotel brand that meets the demands of the new generation of entrepreneurs and leisure travellers.


Khaleej Times

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