The issue of tenders for the contracts to build a new Four Seasons hotel on Jumeirah Beach Road and to expand the Meridien hotel in Garhoud shows that hoteliers still see potential in Dubai.
While most of the region’s hoteliers have struggled this year with the political unrest that has swept through the region, Dubai has continued to attract a steady flow of tourists.
Many of the region’s tourism markets were starting to show signs of recovery after the global recession in 2008 had stalled growth, but the political turmoil that has spread through the Middle East and North Africa in 2011 has had a negative effect on the region’s key tourism markets.
Stable Dubai has bucked the trend and has maintained a steady inflow of tourists. It actually stands to benefit from the unrest in the region as businesses move offices and meetings to the emirate. In the first quarter of the year, as many of the region’s tourist markets collapsed, Dubai recorded the highest hotel occupancy rates of 80 per cent.
The emirate was able to develop its infrastructure and complete several iconic tourism projects before the recession, which means that even though development has slowed, Dubai still has the facilities tourists need.
The Four Seasons and Meridien expansion projects are both five-star schemes aimed at the high-end tourist market. This shows that Dubai is not turning away from the luxury market, which it focused on as it built itself up as a global tourist destination.
Since the global recession reached the Middle East in 2009, Dubai has become synonymous with grand projects that never made it. But it is the projects it managed to complete before the crisis that will stand its tourist market in good stead for the future.