Plans to develop a Four Seasons hotel on Jumeirah Beach Road show that Dubai’s tourism sector still offers opportunities for international hoteliers.

In the aftermath of the global recession Dubai’s booming real-estate market collapsed. Billions of dollars worth of tower blocks and large residential developments were put on hold or cancelled.

However, the emirate’s tourism sector is beginning to pick up. In the first quarter of 2011, the Movenpick Hotel Deira, Ritz Carlton DIFC and the Jumeirah Zabeel Saray hotels entered Dubai’s hotel market. Plans to build the new Four Seasons Hotel shows that hoteliers still see potential in Dubai’s tourism sector.

The current instability in the region is also set to benefit Dubai’s tourism industry as demand is diverted from other destinations in the Middle East and North Africa. Occupancy levels in Dubai increased by 3 percentage points to 82 per cent for the first two months in 2011.

In addition to leisure tourism, Dubai’s hotel market is benefiting from business travellers that used to visit troubled Bahrain. In addition to a stable political situation, Dubai’s developed infrastructure makes it an attractive place for hoteliers. Qatar is set to build 50,000 hotel rooms over the next 12 years to host football’s 2022 World Cup, but its lack of tourist infrastructure means that in the short term hoteliers will get little return on their money.