Jebel Ali International Hotels will launch an exclusive 10-villa resort on a small island in the Seychelles later this year, in its first foray overseas. The company, based in Dubai, will manage the Round Island Resort, a 2-hectare resort in a national marine park on Mahe Island, 6.5km east of the capital, Victoria.
The resort is expected to open in the third quarter of this year. "Seychelles is going to be a huge project," said Mariann Valero, the director of sales and marketing at Jebel Ali International Hotels. "We're looking at a couple of other projects internationally and locally, but nothing very soon." The company's second Seychelles resort, The Waterfront, will open in 2012. Jebel Ali International Hotels is the hospitality division of Dutco, which has interests in the construction and oil and gas industries.
In November, it reopened its Jebel Ali Hotel, owned by Dutco, after a five-month refurbishment programme. The hotel, which was one of Dubai's first luxury hotels, opened in 1981. A further 134 rooms in the Palm Tree Court and Spa were added in 1998 to complete the 394-room Jebel Ali Golf Resort and Spa. Ms Valero said the Jebel Ali Hotel had achieved occupancy levels close to 90 per cent so far this month, primarily due to a promotional 50 per cent discount reopening rate.
The hotel launched its promotions at the beginning of last year in response to the global downturn in the tourism and hotel sectors. Ms Valero said the company was also tapping new markets such as China "because of sheer volume of travellers that one can target". According to data from STR Global, a research firm based in London, occupancy levels in Dubai fell to 67.9 per cent in the year to last October, down from 78.1 per cent in the same period in 2008. Average daily rates declined to US$228.87 (Dh840.65) from $300.44, due mainly to an increase in the number of rooms.
"Despite many of our key feeder markets not yet being out of recession, we would like to remain confident that 2010 will be better than 2009, especially after the summer period," said Ms Valero. The company's range of products, which includes Bateaux Dubai, a luxury glass-sided boat moored in the Dubai Creek that offers dining cruises, has also helped to boost profits. "We're a true home-grown brand, which has grown with the hospitality sector in Dubai by also adding variety to our original hotel portfolio, including serviced hotel apartments, venues like Bateaux Dubai and sporting facilities such as the football pitches," said Ms Valero.
Thousands of new rooms are due to open in Dubai this year, but Ms Valero remains confident that Jebel Ali Hotels International will not suffer. email@example.com