Dubai luxury hotelier Jumeirah Group is in talks to open a property in the Indian state of Goa, ahead of the opening of its debut hotel in Mumbai in 2017.
Jumeirah, a subsidiary of government-owned Dubai Holding, signed a management agreement in late 2012 to operate the 470-room property in Mumbai’s Lower Parel district.
Group CEO and President Gerald Lawless said that Jumeirah was in negotiations with the same developer to open a second property in Goa, in India’s south, although there was currently no timeframe.
“We’re in serious discussions with the owner in Mumbai to do another hotel in Goa. It’s culturally close, physically close [and] easy to administer from our head office in Dubai,” he said.
Lawless said that Jumeirah, which operates Dubai’s luxury Burj Al Arab and hotels across the Middle East, Asia and Europe, was eager to expand further in India, but had struggled with overcoming bureaucratic obstacles in the country.
“The barriers to entry are high, which is one of the difficulties in India and even then when you do get that entry, the bureaucracy is so cumbersome for the developer it takes ages to get something up and running,” Lawless added.
He said that Jumeirah was also seeking opportunities to open hotels in Pakistan and Myanmar. “Things will stabilise in Pakistan and I think it’d be very appropriate for us to be in Islamabad and Karachi,” Lawless said.
“[Myanmar is] a country that will open up and because of its proximity to us and Asia generally, there’s every reason for us to try to be one of the pioneers going in.”
The company is also in “serious discussions” for properties in Saudi Arabia, and hopes to open hotels in Riyadh, Jeddah, Al Khobar and Madinah, Lawless added.
Jumeirah currently has 18 hotels in its immediate pipeline, including properties in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Qatar, Oman and five in China.