Travel trade reaction at the recently concluded World Travel Market (WTM) in London has underscored the ongoing popularity of the UAE as a tourist destination, according to management from Le Méridien Hotels and Resorts, which operates seven properties in the country.
"We achieved occupancies of 90 and 100 per cent for our Dubai hotels during Ramadan, but it was encouraging that operators were also very enthusiastic about the potential for Le Méridien Al Aqah Beach Resort on the East Coast," said Russel Sharpe, regional vice-president sales.
Already more than 100 UK and Irish tour operators are featuring Dubai in their current brochures, but Sharpe said there were encouraging signs that the market will grow even farther in 2003.
"We received a lot of interest from the Internet operators who are keen to feature Le Méridien hotels in their product inventory, and some agents specialising in long-haul travel are also expanding their stopover product for Dubai, contracting room stock to offer travellers an opportunity to break their journey here for a few days," he said.
With the UK making up nearly half the total of hotel guests from Europe, and more than 70 weekly flights between the country and Dubai, the country's travellers are growing in importance to the leisure sector here, he added, and Le Méridien has established a key role in this market.
"The brand is well-known with a variety of products - including Le Méridien in the city, Al Sondos Suites for long-stay and our two popular beach resorts, Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa and Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina - and this has enabled us to launch the East Coast as a new destination."
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