Help us develop tourism, UAQ hotels say

Holidaymakers say they enjoy the peace and quiet but most hotel managers are looking to development and creating a dedicated tourism organisation.
Visitors fish in the old area of Umm Al Quwain. Hotel bosses in the emirate want more action from the authorities to boost tourism. Pawan Singh / The National
Visitors fish in the old area of Umm Al Quwain. Hotel bosses in the emirate want more action from the authorities to boost tourism. Pawan Singh / The National

UMM AL QUWAIN // Hotels are calling for a tourism organisation to oversee the development of the sector in UAQ.

Hotel managers say that while the emirate’s resorts are often overbooked throughout the year, especially in the high season between October and May, they believe that a tourism department is required for the industry to flourish.

“We aspire to have a control sector that can develop and classify the hotels and resorts as four or five stars,” said Maroun Diab, a beach manager at Hotel Royal Residence.

Mr Diab said the emirate’s open beaches were one the main attractions but that they lacked toilets and lifeguards, two elements that he thinks would help to further boost tourism.

Kamal Afnan, a general manager at UAQ Beach Hotel, said: “I prefer to have more hotels because it would create competition among the hotels, and this would push each hotel to work more and more to develop its sector.”

He also said there were not enough hotels that meet the standards required to impress international visitors.

Sanal Xavier, a business development manager at Pearl Hotel, said UAQ should look to outdoor activities to help to expand the industry.

“There is potential to get more tourists through providing different activities such as adventure sports, boating and hunting,” he said.

Mathew T Thomas, sales and operations manager at Flamingo Beach Resort, believes the emirate’s ban on nightclubs and DJ parties has affected trade.

“I would prefer that the Government would allow once again DJ parties because it is one of the reasons we attract tourists,” he said.

But any expansion in tourism would have to take into account the reasons tourists give for visiting UAQ.

“I come here to relax because it is a quiet place,” said Irina Evokova, a 50-year-old Russian who teaches people with special needs. It was her first time in UAQ and she said she loved the easy access to the beach. “The absence of parties is not a big problem because the emirate is a calm area for relaxation, and who wants to go clubbing? They can take a taxi and go where the parties are.”

Evgeni Vorobiev, 65, a Russian journalist, said: “My wife and I work in our country and we are always busy, so we preferred to come to this place for recreation.

“However, UAQ has nice buildings and behind those buildings there is an empty space, so why don’t they fill it?”

Egyptian nurse Gihan Saad, 40, said that she had never visited the emirate before and found out about it online.

“I came with my mother to spend the weekend and to relax because I noticed from the internet images that it is full of natural green scenery, which I liked,” said the Dubai resident. “But there are many mosquitoes.”

Saeed Ibrahim, 45, is an Emirati who visits the Flamingo Beach Resort. He believes a lack of good hotels was affecting the emirate.

“Because there are no five-star hotels in the emirate, tourism is diminished,” he said.

Mr Ibrahim, a government employee, said if there were more quality hotels, UAQ would be able to better exploit many of its attractive features, such as its marine islands, nature reserves, mangroves and flamingos.

Natalia Shchewlova, 43, a Russian marketing manager, agreed that the main lure of the emirate was its tranquillity, far from the burdens of city life.

“UAQ is an easy emirate in terms of road traffic,” she said. “There is a lack of traffic jams and this is the main thing that attracted me to this place.”

newsdesk@thenational.ae

Published: June 10, 2014 04:00 AM

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