Meraas launches hotel division in strategic move

Meraas has become the latest government owned developer in Dubai to go full tilt at exploring income generating opportunities in hospitality. A dedicated division has been established — Meraas Hotels & Resorts — with a stated aim to ‘introduce, operate and manage different brands of hotels’.

Interestingly, this division comes under the existing Meraas Hospitality umbrella. Its mandate is to integrate with the businesses and destinations being developed by the parent company. In addition, it will manage hotel properties managed by other developers.

“We aim to capitalise on our strong portfolio of projects and the positive market trends projected for the tourism sector to establish new benchmarks in the hospitality industry,” said Abdullah Al Habbai, Group Chairman.

In this regard, Meraas is in sync with what Emaar and, more recently, Nakheel, have been doing with multiple projects in hospitality. The latter has been entering into multiple deals with hotel operators/developers on projects specific to the Deira Islands development and elsewhere. Emaar on its part has managed to create a highly visible hotel portfolio around the Address brand, and recently with Vida.

In the latest financials, Emaar and Nakheel have recorded steady gains from their existing hospitality fronting projects and confirmed plans for major additions.

Meraas owns prime land parcels across Dubai, including redevelopment projects in Jumeirah and Bur Dubai (on a 1.8 kilometre stretch fronting the Dubai Creek and near the consulates). These projects have niche hospitality components as well. On its website, Meraas confirms that this is indeed the case at its Baywaters development, located off the Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) coastline.

In the last two years, Meraas had delivered a string of retail and entertainment destinations, including Phase I of City Walk and the BoxPark on Al Wasl Road as well as the popular The Beach at JBR.

Meraas is also the parent company of Dubai Parks & Resorts, which is developing a $3 billion (Dh11 billion) theme park destination.

It’s clear why the master-developers in Dubai are hitting full throttle on new hotel projects. The conservative estimate is that Dubai will need 140,000-160,000 hotel rooms by 2020, while a recent report published by Dubai Tourism & Commerce Marketing noted that as of the first six months of this year, Dubai had 667 hotel properties offering up a combined 94,936 rooms — an increase of 5 per cent and 7 per cent respectively over the same period in 2014. The city received 7.2 million tourists in the first half of 2015.

Source: Staff Report,


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