TOPSHOT - A picture taken on January 8, 2018 shows the skyline of Dubai with the Burj al-Arab in the foreground and Burj Khalifa (L) in the background.  / AFP PHOTO / GIUSEPPE CACACE
Burj Al Arab in Dubai is one of the Dubai hotels offering discounts on room rates this Eid Al Fitr weekend. Giuseppe Cacace / AFP

Dubai hoteliers boosted by reduction in municipality fees

Hoteliers across Dubai have described a decrease in municipality fees as a “win-win” situation ahead of an expected major boost in occupancy levels for Eid Al Fitr.

On Monday, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai ordered the municipality fee on sales at hotel facilities in Dubai — which will include the cost of room bookings — be cut to 7 per cent from 10 per cent.

Glenn Nobbs, general manager of the Copthorne Hotel Dubai the decrease would likely cause a boost in business.

“As the directive has only just been made public, and we are awaiting the official commencement date, it is a bit too early to say much at this point.

“However, what I can say is there is no doubt that the news is positive and we hope that with the reduced fee, we will see an uplift in business,” he said.

The reduction in fees will have a direct impact on food and beverage sales and will make Dubai’s price point even more attractive than it already is, Mr Nobbs said.

“The end user will benefit from the cost saving, the hotels will benefit as it should help to drive more business in and the Government should also benefit as we should see more business across the emirate,” he said.

A spokesperson for Emaar, that includes The Address hotels and the midmarket Rove range in its portfolio, said the news will boost market confidence and help drive the growth of the hospitality and tourism sectors.

“It will also contribute to higher occupancy levels across the hotels, as it makes room bookings more attractive,” said the spokesperson.

“This will also contribute to increased room revenues in the short- and long-run, and strengthen investments in the hospitality sector.”

The spokesperson said the reduction in fees will also contribute in lower operating costs which will have a trickle-down effect to suppliers as well.

“The decree will also give a definitive boost to the tourism and aviation sectors, led by Dubai’s status as a preferred global tourism and business hub,” they said.

There has been no confirmation yet as to when the new rates will come into effect but the Emaar spokesperson said the company will be implementing them across the board at the first available opportunity.


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Preparations under way for Eid Al Fitr


Regardless of the decrease in tax, occupancy levels at hotels are expected to soar this weekend.

Guests are set to arrive at Dubai hotels in their droves to celebrate Eid Al Fitr.

Valerie Vayssiere, director of sales and marketing, Fairmont Dubai says she expects the property to sell out over the weekend.

“We anticipate a very busy Eid weekend at Fairmont Dubai with more bookings confirmed in advance compared to last year and a strong pick up over the last two days.

“With our occupancy rates steadily rising day after day, we expect the positive trend to continue and the hotel to sell out over Eid.”

While Ms Vayssiere points out that the majority of guests staying at the property this weekend will be from the GCC, she has also noticed an increase in the number of international visitors.

“As Eid holidays are moving closer into prime tourist season and the weather is still pleasant, we are witnessing the year-on-year growing influx of international footfall,” she said.

“The majority of these tourists are drawn to the UAE’s popular landmarks, family-friendly attractions and shopping malls.”

David Wilson, general manager of the Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah is not surprised that this year’s Eid Al Fitr is expected to surpass last year’s for hoteliers.

“The property has proven to be a favourite for travellers looking for staycations and getaways over key holiday periods such as Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha. Based on our current business levels we foresee the hotel running at a very healthy occupancy this Eid.”


Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices

Tour de France Stage 16:

165km run from Le Puy-en-Velay to Romans-sur-Isère

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
Company profile

Date started: January, 2014

Founders: Mike Dawson, Varuna Singh, and Benita Rowe

Based: Dubai

Sector: Education technology

Size: Five employees

Investment: $100,000 from the ExpoLive Innovation Grant programme in 2018 and an initial $30,000 pre-seed investment from the Turn8 Accelerator in 2014. Most of the projects are government funded.

Partners/incubators: Turn8 Accelerator; In5 Innovation Centre; Expo Live Innovation Impact Grant Programme; Dubai Future Accelerators; FHI 360; VSO and Consult and Coach for a Cause (C3)


Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

Herc's Adventures

Developer: Big Ape Productions
Publisher: LucasArts
Console: PlayStation 1 & 5, Sega Saturn
Rating: 4/5


Directors: Scott Beck, Bryan Woods

Stars: Adam Driver, Ariana Greenblatt, Chloe Coleman

Rating: 2/5

Our legal consultants

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

'Falling for Christmas'

Director: Janeen Damian

Stars: Lindsay Lohan, Chord Overstreet, Jack Wagner, Aliana Lohan

Rating: 1/5

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

Our legal consultants

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.


Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside


Draw for Presidents Cup fourball matches on Thursday (Internationals first mention). All times UAE:

02.32am (Thursday): Marc Leishman/Joaquin Niemann v Tiger Woods/Justin Thomas
02.47am (Thursday): Adam Hadwin/Im Sung-jae v Xander Schauffele/Patrick Cantlay
03.02am (Thursday): Adam Scott/An Byeong-hun v Bryson DeChambeau/Tony Finau
03.17am (Thursday): Hideki Matsuyama/CT Pan v Webb Simpson/Patrick Reed
03.32am (Thursday): Abraham Ancer/Louis Oosthuizen v Dustin Johnson/Gary Woodland

The specs

Engine: four-litre V6 and 3.5-litre V6 twin-turbo

Transmission: six-speed and 10-speed

Power: 271 and 409 horsepower

Torque: 385 and 650Nm

Price: from Dh229,900 to Dh355,000


All kick-off times 10.45pm UAE (+4 GMT) unless stated

Sevilla v Maribor
Spartak Moscow v Liverpool
Manchester City v Shakhtar Donetsk
Napoli v Feyenoord
Besiktas v RB Leipzig
Monaco v Porto
Apoel Nicosia v Tottenham Hotspur
Borussia Dortmund v Real Madrid

Basel v Benfica
CSKA Moscow Manchester United
Paris Saint-Germain v Bayern Munich
Anderlecht v Celtic
Qarabag v Roma (8pm)
Atletico Madrid v Chelsea
Juventus v Olympiakos
Sporting Lisbon v Barcelona

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).

Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

Our legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

The specs: 2018 Nissan Patrol Nismo

Price: base / as tested: Dh382,000

Engine: 5.6-litre V8

Gearbox: Seven-speed automatic

Power: 428hp @ 5,800rpm

Torque: 560Nm @ 3,600rpm

Fuel economy, combined: 12.7L / 100km

The biog:

Favourite book: The Leader Who Had No Title by Robin Sharma

Pet Peeve: Racism 

Proudest moment: Graduating from Sorbonne 

What puts her off: Dishonesty in all its forms

Happiest period in her life: The beginning of her 30s

Favourite movie: "I have two. The Pursuit of Happiness and Homeless to Harvard"

Role model: Everyone. A child can be my role model 

Slogan: The queen of peace, love and positive energy

Five famous companies founded by teens

There are numerous success stories of teen businesses that were created in college dorm rooms and other modest circumstances. Below are some of the most recognisable names in the industry:

  1. Facebook: Mark Zuckerberg and his friends started Facebook when he was a 19-year-old Harvard undergraduate. 
  2. Dell: When Michael Dell was an undergraduate student at Texas University in 1984, he started upgrading computers for profit. He starting working full-time on his business when he was 19. Eventually, his company became the Dell Computer Corporation and then Dell Inc. 
  3. Subway: Fred DeLuca opened the first Subway restaurant when he was 17. In 1965, Mr DeLuca needed extra money for college, so he decided to open his own business. Peter Buck, a family friend, lent him $1,000 and together, they opened Pete’s Super Submarines. A few years later, the company was rebranded and called Subway. 
  4. Mashable: In 2005, Pete Cashmore created Mashable in Scotland when he was a teenager. The site was then a technology blog. Over the next few decades, Mr Cashmore has turned Mashable into a global media company.
  5. Oculus VR: Palmer Luckey founded Oculus VR in June 2012, when he was 19. In August that year, Oculus launched its Kickstarter campaign and raised more than $1 million in three days. Facebook bought Oculus for $2 billion two years later.

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