The Carlton Hotel Group plans to open three new three-star properties in Dubai at a total cost of Dh200 million, Area General Manager Hosni Abdulhadi has revealed.
There is growing demand for this type of accommodation from middle-income visitors who cannot afford to stay at the five-star hotels that dominate the emirate’s hospitality industry.
“The new hotels, to be opened next year, will offer reasonable prices and meet the needs of middle-income customers,” said Abdulhadi.
“They will offer good service, quality and space – each room will have an area of 21 square metres, which is large compared with many three-star hotels. And there will be a wide choice of dishes availble for breakfast.”
He said studies conducted by the group showed that Dubai needed more two to three-star properties as many tourists from Europe preferred to stay at reasonably priced hotels. But Carlton is also planning to expand in the luxury sector.
“We have expansion plans in the UAE and are preparing to open new hotels in Dubai. They include the Dh180 million Carlton Marina, which will contain 120 hotel apartments, and the Dh250m Grand Carlton on Sheikh Zayed Road. We also plan to expand in Abu Dhabi.
“The group has invested Dh15m to renew the Carlton Tower, which is Dubai’s oldest hotel – it opened in 1977. The external façade along with its rooms and restaurants were renewed.
“As far as expansion outside the UAE is concerned, the group wants to enlarge its business in the Gulf region, especially in Bahrain where a new hotel will be opening soon. The Bahrain Carlton will have 128 hotel apartments.
“By the end of 2010 the group will have six new hotels with a total capacity of 900 rooms and hotel apartments. And we also have expansion plans in Oman, Turkey and Syria.”
Abdulhadi said the group achieved high occupancy rates – 92 per
cent – and enjoyed 15 per cent growth over the past year.
He was confident Dubai would be able to reach its target of hosting more than 15 million tourists by the end of 2015.
“I think that development in the emirate and the major projects that are launched periodically will help to attract large numbers of tourists. And the expansion of Emirates airline is one of the most important factors in attracting visitors from around the world.”
Abdulhadi said the group planned to participate in next month’s ITB show in Germany – currently the largest travel trade exhibition in the world.
He said Germany, the UK and the Gulf region were the group’s most important markets, though it had recently started to attract customers from France and Spain.
The percentage of customers booking online was low at just five per cent.
“This is due to a lack of awareness of the internet in the Gulf region – travel agents still appear more credible than websites.
“Also, the number of people with credit cards here is low compared with European countries – this is a main factor in the growth of online booking as a credit card is always required to make a reservation.”
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