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Mon 23 Jul 2012 10:12 AM

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EXCLUSIVE: Dubai's Jumeirah in India expansion talks

Operator of iconic Burj al-Arab hotel is in talks to expand luxury brand into India, senior executive confirms

EXCLUSIVE: Dubai's Jumeirah in India expansion talks
(AFP/Getty Images)

Dubai’s Jumeirah Group, operator of the iconic Burj al-Arab hotel, is in talks to expand the luxury brand into India, a senior executive told Arabian Business.

“India is a sector of strategic importance for Jumeirah Group, both as a source market for guests to our global portfolio of luxury properties and as a target location for our development plans,” Piers Schreiber, vice president of corporate communications at Jumeirah Group, told Arabian Business.

“We are in discussions with a number of potential partners for development projects, including developers in India who are interested in bringing Jumeirah to Delhi, Mumbai and other key destinations,” he added.

Tourism is a fast growing sector in India. Earlier this month the UAE and India signed an agreement to double the flow of tourists between the two countries.

Around 6.29m tourists from the Gulf visited India last year and India's tourism minister said he is looking to increase the share of foreign visitors from 0.6 percent to one percent by 2016.

While visiting the UAE, an Indian ministerial delegation said India currently needs another 230,000 new hotel rooms, which it said will require private investment of around INR400bn (US$7.23bn).

Jumeirah Group, part of government-owned Dubai Holding, has agreements to manage around 50 hotels, the company’s CEO Gerard Lawless told reporters in April.

The average occupancy rate for Jumeirah’s beach hotels was 84.4 percent in the first quarter of 2012, while the average occupancy rate for the company’s city properties was 85.5 percent, Lawless said.