Shangri-La Dubai nears launch date
The Shangri-La Group of hotels is set to launch its first ever hotel outside the Asia-Pacific region, in Dubai.The group hopes to utilise the WTM platform the showcase the hotel. "The long standing image of the WTM draws interested attendees and gives us an international venue to showcase our product with the opportunity of developing new business partners and maintaining relationships with our industry friends from afar," says Sherryn Bates, the hotel's director of sales and marketing. "With the ease of electronic communication taking away the personal touch, shows like WTM help us, in attaining a more personalised approach in our business relationships," she added. With the Middle East region in the eye of a geo-political storm, Bates is of the opinion that healthy trade relationships and regular, 'on the ground' updates of situations will help relay the right message to tourists. "The decision to travel will always be a personal decision," she says. "We have a professional obligation to report the reality to the traveller and we rely on the press to accurately report the facts." She did, however, say that the UAE and Dubai governments were fully supportive of the industry and actively dedicated to promoting Dubai as a destination. Bates also said that e-marketing had opened a range of options for the discerning tourist. "Tourists are being educated in a way. A more competitive industry is a side affect of this education," she says. The Shangri-La hotel Dubai will be extending a special 'Soft Opening' rate in January 2003. Other 'value added packages' would be released closer to the opening date. Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts plans to open three new properties in the Gulf within the next two-and-a-half years. Shangri-La Dubai will open in the first quarter of 2003, followed by Traders Hotel, Dubai, in the third quarter of 2003, and Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort, Muscat, in 2005. The Shangri-La Dubai has 301 guestrooms and suites, each distinctively appointed, as well as 126 serviced, furnished apartments. To complement both the business and leisure traveller the hotel offers a 24-hour business centre. It also offers eight restaurants and bars consisting of a 24-hour international cafŽ, Chinese, Vietnamese, Moroccan, and Mediterranean restaurants, a Lounge, a cocktail bar. The hotels also features a restaurant and entertainment venue.