Dubai tourism chiefs say they have received 151 applications for new three and four-star hotel developments in the emirate and 10,000 keys short of a 35,000-key target only seven months after launching a campaign for more mid-tier accommodation.
Yousuf Ahmad Lootah, executive director tourism development and investments at the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), said it had launched the incentive program in October to encourage investment across a number of hotel classifications and “ensure that Dubai remains a compelling destination for the family segment”.
He said under the program, it set a target of 35,000 keys in the three and four-star segments.
However, he confirmed that as at May 7 it had received 151 applications totaling 25,000 keys.
“Hopefully by the end of 2017, 2018 we are going to have these keys live in Dubai,” he told Arabian Business, adding that it would then bring the emirate from 85,000 up to 110,000 keys.
“Under the guidance of Sheikh Mohammed and the creation of Dubai as it stands as a competitive business environment and an investment-friendly environment, just the announcement that we want that to happen just engaged the private sector to activate and move fast.
“That’s a reflection of the credibility the brand of Dubai has in all different segments of business.”
Incentives for developers of three and four-star hotels include waiving Dubai Municipality’s one percent zoning fee, in addition to a two-year waiver on municipal fees if the hotel is open before 2017.
Lootah said as a regulator DTCM ensured investors complied with local rules, however the location was a matter for the business community.
With the recent announcement by Damac of plans for a Halal hotel in Dubai Lootah said he believed there would be an increase in Islamic tourism.
“Absolutely, as the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammad, for Dubai to become the number one family destination in the world, it has to appeal to all demographics and the Islamic strategy for Dubai encompasses hospitality as well,” he said.
“Such offerings will continue to be important and an important additional offering to what’s currently available.”