By Shane McGinley
Hotel operator behind Burj al Arab says it has had conversations about expanding into the cruise line industry
Dubai’s Jumeirah Group has considered expanding into the cruise ship industry and the move is “a possibility”, the CEO of the luxury hotelier told Arabian Business.
The hotel group currently has 25 projects in its portfolio, including the iconic Burj al Arab, and the expansion into the cruise ship sector would be a natural brand development.
“It's a conversation that comes and goes, but, of course, it could be one day a possibility,” Jose Silva told Arabian Business in an interview.
“We don't have a project today with a cruise [line],” he said, adding that any partnership would have to bring value to both parties.
“Partner in ways that it's logic to our consumer or where we feel we can bring value. It needs to bring value to the brand and we bring value to this investor,” he believed.
Dubai is already a major cruise ship hub for the region and last month it was reported that the emirate is seeking to attract 1 million cruise visitors for the first time as the 2019-2020 season gets underway.
The 2019/2020 season is expected to welcome more than 200 ship calls and follows a successful 2018/2019 cruise season when the city witnessed a record increase of over 51 percent in cruise tourist footfall with nearly 850,000 tourists and 152 ship calls.
Dubai is also home to the Queen Elizabeth 2 cruise ship. Docked permanently at Mina Rashid, the 52 year-old cruise liner was bought by investment company Istithmar for a reported $100 million. In April 2018, following an extensive refurbishment, it was relaunched as a floating hotel.
The full interview with Jose Silva will be published in Arabian Business on Sunday, December 22.