By Shane McGinley
State-backed hotelier aims to tap into growing demand for luxury travel in Russia
Jumeirah Group, the hotel group that operates Dubai’s sail-shaped Burj Al Arab, is mulling its first property in Russia in a bid to tap increasing demand for luxury travel in the country.
Russia is one the biggest growth markets for visitors to Jumeirah’s five-star luxury hotels but the state-backed hotelier is keen to capitalise on the domestic market, said executive chairman Gerard Lawless.
“I tell you, we need to open in Russia. If we could we would,” he told reporters. “We would be very pleased to open in Russia. We have had a number of discussions but nothing has come to any conclusion.”
Jumeirah, which is part of Dubai Holding, said this week that negotiations are ongoing with potential partners in Russia to secure a property.
“We are still in talks with developers and owners. We will only announce a potential new project once a management agreement has been signed,” a spokesperson said.
Jumeirah Group expects to have 60 properties signed or under management by the close of 2012.
The hotelier said last month that occupancy at its Dubai hotels averaged 85 percent in the first four months of 2011 while revenue per available room rose seven percent.
Despite the rise in passenger numbers, however, Jumeirah Group confirmed it has shelved plans to launch a new hotel brand, Venu, and has suspended planned properties on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah and in Dubai Healthcare City.
The state-backed company reported that full-year profit for 2010 rose 58 percent on the year-earlier period.For all the latest travel news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.