Petrochemicals sector given lively reception at hotels in Fujairah

Fujairah hotels are experiencing an uptick in meetings business boosted by the developing petrochemicals sector.

The number of hotel rooms in Fujairah is expected to double to 1,600 this year. Above, the Hotel JAL Fujairah Resort and Spa. Randi Sokoloff / The National
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Fujairah's hotels are experiencing an increase in meetings and events boosted by the developing petrochemicals sector.

The emirate is the world's second-largest ship refuelling hub and home to a pipeline connecting Fujairah to Abu Dhabi's onshore oil wells.

By 2016 Fujairah will also have a 200,000 barrel per day refinery, which is being built by the government-owned International Petroleum Investment Company.

"From the oil sector [alone] about 3,000 families have just moved to Fujairah, so that has created a big demand in the market," said Mohamed Fekry, the general manager of Concorde Hotel Fujairah.

The hotel recorded a 20 to 25 per cent rise in meetings business last year. And it is not alone, according to Mr Fekry.

"The Mice [meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions] business in Fujairah is booming," he said. "With all the development that's taking place in Fujairah and all the development that's coming up with the oil hub … there are a lot of events, a lot of activities."

Revenue from rooms at Concorde Hotel was up by 15 to 20 per cent, while income from the spa surged by more than 35 per cent last year.

Mr Fekry said he expected business to grow again this year, although he would not estimate by how much.

However, there will soon be more competition in the emirate.

At the start of the year Fujairah had about 800 hotel rooms, but with the opening of three properties this year — the Ibis, the Novotel and the Millennium — the number will double to 1,600.

"I believe in competition," said Mr Fekry. "The more hotels and hotel companies [we have] yes, the tougher the competition will be but the best brand will show itself, and with the services that we are doing and the facilities of our hotel I believe that we will remain in the focus of Fujairah," he added.

The Concorde Hotel plans to do that partly by attracting more sports activities and family events, a strategy it started about two years ago.

"Being an alcohol-free hotel we have been focusing on sports activities and events, so we hope to host a lot of international tournaments," he said.

The hotel has hosted a billiard tournament, an international taekwondo competition and this October will host the Fifa Under 17s World Cup to be played at the Fujairah Club Stadium.

But petrochemical and shipping will remain important generators for the local economy.

"All these things are developing that makes Fujairah the new place to be," said Mr Fekry.