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Jumeirah still gung ho about Asian expansion

17 Dec 2009

The Jumeirah Group may be experiencing a setback in entering China with the delay of Jumeirah Han Tang Xintiandi in Shanghai, but other projects in the pipeline continue to buoy its ambitions of establishing a sizeable Asian foothold.

The Dubai-based chain has just signed on to manage a city hotel in Hangzhou, northeast China for GT Land Holdings. The 250-room property is located in the central business district of Qianjiang River New Town.

This adds to a portfolio of regional projects that also include Jumeirah Guangzhou, Jumeirah Macau, Jumeirah Qing Shui Bay Resort Sanya, Jumeirah Bali, Jumeirah Maldives, Jumeirah Private Island Phuket, as well as the controversial Shanghai hotel.

Gerald Lawless, executive chairman of Jumeirah Group, told Business Traveller that though they “remained committed to seeing the development through”, they had to wait for the owners to make the final decision on whether to go ahead with the next phase of construction. It is believed the financial crisis dried up cash flow that contributed to the hotel being put on hold late last year. The lattice exterior was completed before work stopped, but the interiors are still waiting outfitting.

Lawless said he expected some clarity on the issue to emerge in the next few weeks.

With the global recession and recent Dubai Debt crisis, Jumeirah hotels in the Emirate were holding their own, Lawless declared. “Occupancies are, of course, not as high as before, but the leisure market has been extremely strong for us. Our Madinat Jumeirah resort and Jumeirah Beach Hotel have been doing this year about 82 percent occupancy, which is down by 10 percent from last year. But it’s still not bad.

“Dubai will always be a quality destination as well as a huge business and commercial hub in the region. The Jumeirah Group believes strongly in the future of Dubai, and we will continue to invest in it as well as improve our hardware there and the people who run it.”

For more details about the Group, visit www.jumeirah.com

Margie T Logarta

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