By Sarah Townsend
Dubai hoteliers forecast rise of value offerings following airlines’ partnership
The Emirates-flydubai tie-up will boost Dubai’s burgeoning midmarket hotel industry, hotel chiefs claim.
A combined fleet of wide- and narrow-body aircraft, plus the alignment of frequent flyer loyalty programmes, will serve to attract more tourists to the emirate and help it meet its target of 25 million visitors by 2021.
This in turn will provide a fillip to the hotel industry – in particular, economy and midscale offerings as low-cost carrier flydubai gains access to Emirates’ network, according to the heads of some of the UAE’s biggest hotel chains.
Ignace Bauwens, regional vice-president, Middle East and Africa, at Wyndham Hotels Group, told Arabian Business the opportunities the tie-up presented for the hospitality sector were “tremendous”.
“We see the partnership between Emirates and flydubai as closely aligned with current global hospitality trends,” he said.
“Today, with the increase in millennials, smart entrepreneurs and value conscious travellers from across the world – especially within the high-growth emerging markets of Asia and Africa – there is greater need to offer them effortless connectivity and value offerings.
“The approach by Emirates and flydubai, which aims to cover 240 destinations by 2022, therefore addresses this trend by increasing the potential within the mid-market and economy hotel segments.”
Rudi Jagersbacher, president of Hilton Middle East and Africa, agreed: “The partnership between Emirates and flydubai will see the UAE benefiting from proximity and ease of access to rapidly emerging markets in Asia and Africa, and an increase in the number of guests seeking mid-market hotel options in Dubai and beyond.
“Modern day travellers are increasingly seeking affordable and convenient branded accommodation…and this focus on developing the mid-market is a natural, but exciting, evolution of the regional hospitality industry.”
Under the partnership announced on Monday, Emirates and flydubai will operate an “expansive” codeshare agreement, as well as increased schedule alignment and network optimisation to more than 200 destinations.
The two airlines’ combined network is expected to cover 240 destinations by 2020, served by a combined fleet of 380 aircraft, the two carriers said.
Wyndham’s Bauwens said the announcement underlined the city’s credentials as a global tourism and business hub.
“This move will accelerate Dubai’s goal to welcome 20 million annual visitors by 2020, in line with Dubai Tourism’s vision, and also expand the demographic of visitors to the emirate.
“We see this as a renewed opportunity for the Wyndham Hotel Group to further expand its footprint in the UAE.”
Marc Dardenne, CEOO and interim CEO at the UAE’s Jumeirah Group, added: “The partnership is certainly going to bring more and more people to the city.
“It will generate opportunities for the hospitality sector to further develop within Dubai, and provides even better access to new markets.”