Both Abu Dhabi and Dubai are set to unveil new hotel classification systems.
The Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) has already announced a rating system that will categorise hotels on a sliding scale of one to five stars and apartments as deluxe, superior or standard, while Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing has said a revised classification ratings system for all Dubai hotels will be announced soon.
Both emirates claim a break from the global classification system will mean ratings can be better tailored to the local market and take into account service and product standards in the region.
In an effort to differentiate its system from other global rating methods, the ADTA has included five additional merit categories that span environmental issues, special needs, comprehensive detailed standards, consideration for cultural tourism sustainability and implementation planning. Currently, 49 hotels and 49 hotel apartments in Abu Dhabi have licences and are eligible for classification.
The authority's crack classification team will start assessing properties in the next few months with the goal of completing the classification of all hospitality accommodation by the end of the year.
ADTA director, licensing and classification division, Nasser Saif Al Reyami, said three main factors would ensure that Abu Dhabi's rating system was unique.
"Firstly the style is completely different; it has more details," he said. "The second thing is the internet element - [the ADTA has developed a password-protected online classification track-and-trace system called ecalss] - so a manager can see exactly what his hotel's status is and if he is four-star he can see how to reach five-star."
Al Reyami added: "And finally the design of the ‘star' we shall use is completely different to the normal stars [used in star-rating classification systems]. We won't have two or three stars displayed either; [we'll] have our star design with a number four or five in the centre. No one else in the world has that, so it will stand out."
Meanwhile, the DTCM director general HE Khalid bin Sulayem told delegates at last month's Hotel Show in Dubai that a new ratings system was overdue in the Emirate.
"We have been holding consultation meetings across all sectors, from developers to hotel management companies and with new projects coming on stream all of the time, we feel it is time for a review," he said.
Bin Sulayem noted that forthcoming mega projects such as Atlantis, The Palm would add an extra 2000 rooms to Dubai by the end of 2008 and said the market was buoyant enough to absorb this extra capacity.
"Are room rates high?" he said, responding to a question from one delegate.
"No, not when you see the quality and service levels that are provided in Dubai compared with those in other destinations," he concluded.For all the latest travel news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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