In brief


2007 debut for Dubai Westin
STARWOOD Hotels & Resorts Worldwide has announced the signing of its Westin flagship hotel in the UAE, the Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, scheduled to open in the fourth quarter of 2007.

Set on the popular Jumeirah coastline, the Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina will offer 294 rooms, including 216 deluxe rooms, 52 Westin executive rooms and 24 suites.  The hotel will also include a spa and fitness facility, three themed restaurants, three bars, with access to Le Meridien Mina Seyahi’s eight restaurants and bars.

EmQuest signs new partners
EmQuest, the rebranded travel services provider of the Emirates Group, welcomed three new customers at ATM. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and chief executive Emirates Airline and Group, signed contracts with BCD Travel, Al Rais Travel and AIG Travel on the EmQuest stand at the Arabian Travel Market 2007 held in Dubai. EmQuest aims to provide products that ease the travel booking process, simultaneously offering a vast array of services for the customer.

Dollar set for 40pc growth
DOLLAR Rent A Car anticipates a 40 per cent fleet growth in 2007 in addition to the opening of two new outlets in Dubai, according to a company statement quoting Sam ElTibi, regional director, DTAG.
The company’s impressive fleet in the UAE is poised to grow to 3000 vehicles by the end of 2007 and includes Hondas, Chevrolets, Nissans and Toyotas. A selection of commercial vehicles – including 35-seater buses – have recently been added to the company’s fleet. New Dollar outlets are set to open at the brand new Four Points Sheraton in Bur Dubai in the summer and at the Arenco Tower on Sheikh Zayed Road by the end of the year. In addition to expansion within the UAE, Dollar also intends to appoint new franchisees in Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Jordan to meet their growth targets over the coming months.

Accor set for 30 new ME hotels
WITH 30 new properties to be developed in the near future, encompassing a total of 8,247 rooms, French hotel group Accor is set to triple its managed properties in the Middle East by 2010, with an anticipated goal of operating 21 Novotel hotels and 22 Ibis hotels across the Middle East by 2010, and double that number by 2015. In 2006, Accor Middle East signed 15 new projects, with a total of 4,510 rooms under four of its international brands – Ibis, Novotel, Mercure and, Sofitel, spanning the UAE, Oman, Jordan, and Pakistan. The UAE alone accounted for 66 per cent of these.

New Dubai property for Flora
Flora Group Hotels unveiled its sixth Dubai property and an ambitious three-year expansion plan at ATM. The new Flora Creek will open in the Port Saeed area in the last quarter of 2007, said VA Hassan, chairman and CEO. This marks the dynamic beginning of the Group's strategic expansion plan with an investment of Dh250 million ($68 million), which will see a further four properties open by 2010. With more than half of all apartments having enviable Dubai Creek views, the new deluxe Flora Creek Hotel Apartment development will be a premium accommodation choice for both business and leisure guests, and is also ideally suited for corporate guests in the process of relocation. Structured specifically to target the MICE market, the hotel boasts Wifi connectivity throughout.