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Dubai-based Emirates signed on 25 April a joint venture (JV) agreement with the UK’s Whitbread to launch the Premier Travel Inn brand in Dubai and the GCC. The joint venture, for which Whitbread will be a full equity partner, has identified three initial sites in Dubai to build Premier Travel Inn hotels, creating more than 800 rooms for business and leisure travellers seeking budget hotel accommodation. The first Premier Travel Inn in Dubai will be a 300-room hotel at Dubai Investment Park, which is scheduled to open in the last quarter of 2007. It will be followed by a similar-sized hotel at Dubai International Airport, and a 220-room hotel at Dubai Silicon Oasis. Premier Travel Inn operates more than 470 budget hotels in the UK with more than 31,000 rooms. Whitbread group development director Desmond Taljaard said there is potential for up to 4,000 budget hotel rooms in the GCC.