Jumeirah plans growth in Middle East & Africa

Brand: Jumeirah Group Spokesperson: Apo Demirtas, chief sales & marketing officer
An artist’s impression of Jumeirah HanTang Shanghai

How has 2007 fared for Jumeirah Hotels?
This was yet another great year for us.

As well as operating in Dubai, London and New York, we are well on track to achieve our ambitious worldwide growth plans to expand our portfolio of luxury hotels and resorts to 57 by 2011. Thirteen properties are currently under development in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Aqaba, Doha, Phuket, Shanghai, Bermuda, Mallorca and London.
Management agreements signed during 2007 include Jumeirah Al Fattan; a beach front development on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah, Jumeirah Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi, Jumeirah Port Soller, Mallorca’s new five star luxury resort and spa and Jumeirah Southlands Resort in Bermuda.
September 2007 also saw the completion of a $90 million refurbishment of Jumeirah Essex House in New York.

What are the company’s plans for 2008?
We are extremely excited about the grand opening of Jumeirah HanTang Xintiandi, our flagship property in the Asia Pacific region and very first hotel in China. It will open in August 2008.
The year 2008 will also see the opening of Jumeirah Business Bay Hotel, a 36 storey hotel located in the heart of Dubai’s new commercial district.
The Jumeirah Living brand will be established with the very first luxury residence expected to open in Dubai in early 2008. Jumeirah Living will be managing buildings in Dubai and internationally, with a number of additional properties currently under development and scheduled to open in Dubai in various locations throughout 2008.

Are there plans to enter new markets?
Our growth strategy sees us expand into either gateway or letterhead cities or aspirational resort destinations. We will also look at destinations not currently earmarked as priority cities provided that the development fits in with our brand values and the project can yield the commercial success of other Jumeirah projects.
We plan to grow our portfolio and properties in the Middle East & Africa will count for 45 per cent of that total. Asia Pacific will count for 31 per cent, with expansion in the region targeting key gateway cities as well as resort destinations. We are also determined to enter into other traditionally strong hotel markets such as Paris and Frankfurt.

What is the company’s strategy in the face of competition?
We are committed to constantly striving for new and improved ways of doing business.
In the UAE, in order to maintain luxury standards of hospitality we have implemented signature standards wherever you stay with us in the world and our hallmarks and guiding principles ensure the guest experience is always exceptional. Not one Jumeirah hotel is the same and that is a promise we have to ourselves, our owners and our and customers.
There is also a very strong focus on training and development within our company and we have a dedicated, fully equipped, state-of-the-art Centre for Training & Development at Jumeirah delivering on average over 100 courses a month.

Is Jumeirah bullish about 2008? If yes why?
Yes, very much so. We will soon be completing yet another very strong year for Jumeirah and 2008 promises to be another successful year for us at Jumeirah with hopefully more exciting news when it comes to our expansion plans locally and internationally.

What can guests look forward to in the New Year?
There is a lot to look forward to with our biggest and most anticipated openings being our first hotel in China Jumeirah HanTang Xintiandi, Jumeirah Business Bay in Dubai and our very first Jumeirah Living luxury residences opening in distinctive Dubai locations throughout 2008.

What will be the biggest challenges facing you in the Middle East in 2008?
Dubai and destinations in the wider GCC have become some of the most popular and sought after tourism destinations in the world. Dubai in particular, has become a year-round destination that offers something for everyone.  Looking at the projection for tourism and growth in Dubai, there is a definite need for more hotel rooms to accommodate the projected 15 million visitors to the Emirate by the year 2015. Along with this increasing demand will come increasing competition, we see a tremendous opportunity for the growth of our business in Dubai and the GCC region and we are incredibly excited and looking forward to the challenge.