Jumeirah Group, a luxury hotel chain and a member of Dubai Holding, could be launching projects in Dubai World Central (DWC), the site that will have the infrastructure for World Expo 2020.

Jumeirah Group considers Dubai World Central projects!

Jumeirah Group, a luxury hotel chain and a member of Dubai Holding, could be launching projects in Dubai World Central (DWC), the site that will have the infrastructure for World Expo 2020.

“With the World Expo 2020, we look forward to being involved in a number of projects that will take place for hotels in Dubai over the coming years… we have [had] discussions [for projects in DWC] and are waiting for announcements,” Gerald Lawless, President and Chief Executive Officer of Jumeirah Group, told Gulf News in an interview.

Jumeirah has 22 hotels and residences across 10 destinations in the world, including in the UAE, Kuwait, Maldives, the UK, Germany, Spain, Italy, China, Turkey and Azerbaijan.

Lawless said that Expo 2020 “will broaden” the hotel market in Dubai and the UAE.In the years to come, more three- and four-star hotels are expected to be developed, as well as five-star hotels, after an incentive was introduced in September to build more three- and four-star properties in Dubai.

With Expo 2020 coming to Dubai, there is “great confidence” in the market, he said. “There is a sense of purpose about working hard now to ensure that we have an appropriate tourism product well in time for Expo 2020.

“It’s a dynamic time for hotel development in Dubai and the Middle East… travel and tourism seems to be the growth industry [for] the years to come,” Lawless said. 


Financing

Jumeirah has no plans to raise more finance through sukuk or bonds, according to Lawless. “I would think not. We are in a good position at the moment funding-wise,” he said when asked about the group raising more finance.

In October, Jumeirah said it raised $1.4 billion unsecured syndicated loan due in 2019 to help finance its expansion.

Expansion

With 15 properties in the pipeline, Jumeirah is working on five projects in China, of which three are under construction and two about to kick off. These include Jumeirah Guangzhou, Jumeirah Macau, Jumeirah Clearwater Bay Resort in Sanya, Jumeirah Hangzhou and Jumeirah Thousand Island Lake Resort, Qiandaohu.

“The serviced apartments in Guangzhou will open at the end of 2014, and the adjacent hotel will open in 2015. The Hangzhou [property] is due for opening in 2017,” Lawless said.

Meanwhile, the group expects to open Jumeirah Bali, comprising 80 suites and 24 private villas, in 2016, and Jumeirah at Saraya Bandar Jissah in Oman in two-and-a-half to three years’ time.

Jumeirah hotels are performing well in terms of occupancy, according to Lawless. The group’s beach resorts in Dubai achieved an occupancy rate of 82 per cent year-to-date (December 29), with an average daily rate of Dh2,088, according to data provided by Jumeirah.

He, however, did not disclose expected revenue and profit for the group for 2013. “We are very satisfied with results of 2013,” he said.

Asked if Jumeirah will reinstate budget brand Venu, which the group launched three years ago and then put on hold immediately after, Lawless said: “We’re keeping our powder dry on that,” without commenting further.

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