Egyptian hotelier Hamid Al Chiaty, who owns Travco and Egyptotel, will soon open two new resorts in Fujairah.
The Iberotel Miramar Al Aqah Beach Resort, due to open this month, and the upcoming Iberotel Royal Miramar Resorts, with a total investment of nearly Dh735 million ($200 million) in Fujairah. The complex, once completed, will add nearly 700 rooms to the emirate’s growing tourism industry.
TTN’s SHALU CHANDRAN spoke to Ashraf Helmy, the hotel general manager and area business development manager, to find out more. Excerpts:
Why open your first property in Fujairah instead of Dubai?
We believe that Fujairah has great scope in the future. While Dubai is a hotspot destination, for many people a vacation means relaxation. We have scenic mountains and oceans to offer in Fujairah, making it one of the best locations for a getaway. And our proximity to Dubai is yet another factor for us. We believe that we need not be part of the cake, but will bring our own cake into this market.
When can we expect to see the opening of the Miramar Al Aqah Beach Resort?
The grand opening will be in the first week of October. The resort will have a main building with spread out clusters of three floors with 351 rooms and 18 suites with three F&B outlets. One of its unique features is its Moroccan style architecture and facades set on a 200m private beach. The resort offers a wellness centre, health club and an amphitheatre that will host musical shows. As a beach resort, we offer facilities for all leisure activities including tennis court, archery, billiard rooms, beach volleyball, as well as a diving centre.
Who are your source markets? How do you plan to reach them?
Primarily the European market, but the UAE itself is a huge market with a lot of people now making weekend trips to Fujairah. We have already started bookings and already have around 35 per cent occupancy. We will soon launch a ‘Pay 5, get 7’ offer, giving our new guests two nights free when they pay for five.
Our target is 72 per cent occupancy for the first year, with a large number of tourists from Germany. We are actively working with Travco, who will sell the property in the Russian market. With properties in Egypt, Italy and Turkey, we expect to see guests from these regions, which have experienced the Iberotel service and quality.
What are your expansion plans for this region?
The second phase of our expansion will also be in Fujairah. We will soon have another five-star deluxe property with 368 rooms. This is expected to open in 2009. The third phase of our development is an exciting project scheduled to be ready by 2010. It is part of a commercial project which will see the Iberotel Royal Miramar Resort be ready in 2009, and a shopping centre surrounded by a lagoon in 2010.
There are plans for more resorts in Oman, Jordan and Qatar and all these properties, like our property in Fujairah, will be environmentally conscious. The Iberotel Miramar Resort will play an important role to protect the marine and land life in this region. We are also in talks for properties in Ras Al Khaimah.
How do you expect to sell Iberotel, which is a new brand to this region?
The Iberotel Miramar Al Aqah beach resort is more than just another hotel. With marvellous beaches as well as the proximity to Dubai, the property will sell not just as a hotel, but as a destination in itself. Our environmental program will kick in soon and it will only be a matter of time, before guests will experience what we have to offer.
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