By Shane McGinley
Dubai hospitality group plans to have 60 properties in portfolio by close of 2012
Dubai’s Jumeirah Group, operators of the iconic Burj al Arab, said it will push ahead with plans to manage a hotel in Syria, despite widespread political unrest in the Arab country.
The state-owned hotelier last year signed a deal with Souria Holding to manage Jumeirah Abraj Souria, a five star hotel development planned for the Baramkeh area of central Damascus.
The Arab country has seen weeks of violent protests aimed at ousting long-term President Bashar Al Assad that have claimed the lives of an estimated 500 people.
“The project in Syria is moving forward as planned,” a spokesperson for Jumeirah Group told Arabian Business. “We are working with Souriah Holding on the finalisation of the full management agreement.”
The luxury 350-room hotel will form part of a mixed-use development, including commercial space, a shopping mall and office tower.
Jumeirah Group expects to have 60 properties signed or under management by the close of 2012, and said earlier this month it was mulling its first hotel in Russia.
The company said in April 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.