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Thu 13 Jan 2011 05:38 PM

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Jumeirah Group plans to open at least six hotels this year

Dubai-based hotel operator plans projects in Maldives, Frankfurt, Shanghai, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Kuwait

Jumeirah Group plans to open at least six hotels this year
HIGH HOPES: Jumeirah boss Gerald Lawless said the group is seeing an improvement in the conference market as the economy improves globally (ITP Images)

Jumeirah Group, the hotel-management company that operates Dubai’s sail-shaped Burj Al Arab, may open at least six other locations around the world this year, executive chairman Gerald Lawless said.

The government-owned operator of luxury hotels and resorts plans to open two hotels in the Maldives, as well as properties in Frankfurt, Shanghai, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Kuwait, Lawless said in an interview on Wednesday.

A recovery in tourism in Dubai has fuelled demand for Jumeirah’s hotels, which are at full occupancy, Lawless said. Average room rates range from $550 to $700 a night. The company, which operates hotels in New York, London and the Maldives, said on December 27 that it will manage Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, a 405- room, five-star hotel with Ottoman architecture on a man-made island shaped like a palm tree in Dubai.

“There is a lot more depth in the market than there has been in the past in terms of the length of booking and amount of booking we are receiving,” Lawless said. “We are seeing an improvement in the conference market as the economy improves globally.”

The sheikdom, which has about 50,000 rooms, may struggle to maintain occupancy and room rates as a further 30,000 rooms are likely to be added in the next five years, according to Alex Kyriakidis, global managing director of Tourism, Hospitality & Leisure for Deloitte LLP, the New York-based consulting company. To fill the available space, the number of visitors will need to rise to about 12 million from 9.5 million now, Deloitte estimates.

Jumeirah is cutting jobs in Dubai after losing management contracts for two hotels - the Bab Al Shams and the Meydan at the Meydan racecourse, the National newspaper reported on Thursday. The company didn’t respond to calls and e-mails seeking comment on the report.

In 2009, Jumeirah said that it might reduce its workforce because of the global economic recession.

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stewart 8 years ago

they have been fitting out the Kuwait Messila beach hotel for at least 5 yrs so this is old news the disagreements between the building owner who thinks they want it one way versus the operator who wants another is typical of Kuwait and the system the occupancy for 4/5 star hotels in Kuwait currently is 60% there is no demand or need for more hotels as there is the salmiya hilton still to open too