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Mon 20 Jan 2014 04:23 PM

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Dubai ruler cuts red tape for hotel investors

Sheikh Mohammed issues directives to grow tourism offering, especially three- and four-star sector

Dubai ruler cuts red tape for hotel investors
Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum. (AFP/Getty Images)

Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum on Monday announced a series of directives aimed at enhancing investment in hotel development in the emirate.

The directives were made in response to recommendations raised by Dubai's private sector developers during a consultation workshop organised and hosted by Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) and Dubai Municipality, news agency WAM reported.

The workshop, held last week, identified barriers-to-entry currently being faced by hotel investors and to find solutions to further stimulate the sector, particularly in the mid-scale segment, as Dubai prepares to welcome 20 million annual visitors by 2020.

Sheikh Mohammed's directives included setting up a one-stop shop for project approvals aimed at reducing the red tape faced by investors and the time it takes to gain approval.

Government land will also be allocated for the development of three-star and four-star hotels with Dubai Municipality and government-linked master developers working with DTCM to identify key locations for hotels, WAM said.

Additional incentives to encourage the development of midscale hotels needed in Dubai to meet the growth in visitor numbers by 2020 include no fees on change-of-use of land for hotel usage, and the establishment of a special committee to review the re-zoning of plots.

An additional year of exemption of the 10 percent Dubai Municipality fee will also be given for any three and four star hotels which begin operating before June 2017.

Hussain Lootah, director-general of Dubai Municipality, said: "In partnership with public and private sectors, we will identify opportunities for streamlining in the hotel development sector, and work together to address them.

"Our aim is to continue Dubai's journey, to further progress from our position as the region's leading tourism and business destination to being recognised as a global leader in trade and tourism."

Helal Saeed Almarri, director-general of DTCM, added: "Collaboration and consultation between the public and private sector is essential if we are to ensure delivery of the infrastructure, accommodation, events and attractions needed to meet not only the current growth of the tourism sector but the ambitious plan we have for future growth.

"HH Sheikh Mohammed's directives offer new and exciting opportunities for hotel investors. They will act as a stimulus to the sector and help to broaden our current accommodation offering, particularly within the three and four star segment, which is needed to meet the targets outlined in the Dubai Tourism Vision for 2020."

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