Tourism body divides five stars into three

Classification system set to launch at the end of the year

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Five-star hotels in Dubai are to be placed in three sub-categories - platinum, gold and silver - under a classification system set to launch at the end of the year, the emirate's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) said yesterday. The system has been under development for three years and is designed to encourage hotels in Dubai to raise their standards. The existing guidelines have been in place for 12 years.

"The department has taken into consideration the industry trends and benchmarking hospitality properties' classification in several countries, including Australia, Spain, South Africa and the US," said Majid al Marri, the director of classification at DTCM's Licensing and Classification Division. The selection criteria for other hotels, ranging from four stars to one star, have also been overhauled, the DTCM said.

"This is an excellent move by DTCM," said Arshad Hussain, the director of business development at The Monarch Dubai hotel. Mr Hussain said he was confident the The Monarch would be awarded platinum status. "It will differentiate high-end five-star hotels from others, which can only be good for the image of Dubai as an attractive destination. "It's all about offering value for money ?" The Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority announced on Monday it intended to add a category to its hotel classification system for its most opulent five-star hotels. Abu Dhabi's first system was launched last September.

The DTCM said that hotel apartments would be rated in three categories instead of two - basic, standard and deluxe. Dubai has 352 hotels and 188 hotel apartments, the DTCM said, adding that the number of properties is expected to increase by 7 per cent by the end of the year. The emirate has 52 five-star hotels with a total of 16,693 rooms, the DTCM said.