By Gavin Gibbon
Two hotels in Deira to open this year with a third pencilled in to open in 2021
International operator Wyndham Hotels & Resorts is continuing its expansion in the Middle East, despite the crippling effects of the coronavirus pandemic, with two properties set to open in Dubai before the end of the year.
Dimitris Manikis, president and managing director, EMEA, has also revealed that Saudi Arabia remains very much on the radar.
He told Arabian Business: “We’re not going to change the plans. We’re going to reflect, we’re going to adapt, we’re going to become a bit more agile because you need to, but we’re not going to change fundamentally our plans from what it was on December 31, 2019.”
The Wyndham Dubai Deira and the Super 8 by Wyndham Dubai Deira are scheduled to open in October, while a third hotel in the area, the Days Hotel by Wyndham Dubai Deira, is pencilled in to welcome guests in 2021.
“I see the UAE and, in particular Dubai, I’m very bullish and positive about the plans in what they are going to do and how they are going to recover,” he said.
Dubai is preparing to welcome tourists back to the emirate from July 7.
In terms of plans for Saudi Arabia, Manikis said he had been impressed by the Saudi Seasons initiative which launched last year and added that he had been buoyed by the $4 billion stimulus package recently announced to support the tourism industry.
He said: “We still have a lot of faith in the Vision 2030 of Saudi Arabia and being one of the key markets for the region.
“I believe Saudi Arabia is going to be a huge market. They are still continuing the big projects they have launched, so I have great hopes for Saudi Arabia.”
Statistics from market research firm STR show that hotel occupancy rates in the UAE were recorded at 35.6 percent in May, a whopping 30.7 percent fall compared to the same period in 2019. Meanwhile, average daily room rate (ADR) declined 35 percent to just $70.8, while revenue per available room (RevPAR) fell 54.9 percent to $25.2.
STR has also intimated that the impact of Covid-19 globally to the hospitality industry could be as much as $1.2 trillion should the sector not see signs of rebounding soon.
Manikis admitted the organisation has also been forced to make “difficult decisions” since the onset of the pandemic, with properties only just reopening recently after an extended period of closure as a result of movement restrictions and health and safety guidelines.
Although he wasn’t able to give an exact number of those impacted, he said: “It’s still ongoing. We still have hotels that are not fully opened, we still have certain discussions that they are in consultation. I think that very soon, when the process is over, I will be able to give exact numbers, but I have to tell you, it wasn’t hugely impactful. We made sure that we minimised the impact as much as we could.”