By Amanda Hensley
Dubai, UAE: A Dubai hotel chain top executive has added to a growing number of hospitality stakeholders who have expressed confidence that this international city that never sleeps is well back on its feet following last year’s quarantine measures that temporarily ground the industry to a halt as part of Covid-19 measures.
In an exclusive interview with Dubai Vibes Magazine during the recent Arabian Travel Market held at Dubai World Trade Center (DWTC), Eddie Ignatius, Time Hotels corporate director of quality and business excellence, said the signs indicating a recovery are there.
“We have seen so many signs – the vaccine roll-out, people now have the confidence to go out,” Ignatius said.
“People have been stuck for a long time,” he added, “and they need to go out, bearing in mind health and safety measures in place.”
Time, which has four hotels in Dubai and two in neighboring Sharjah, has been enjoying an average 75% occupancy rate, according to Ignatius, noting however that the demand is internal or from city residents wanting a weekend getaway for instance.
Nonetheless, he said Dubai is doing “really great compared to other cities in the region as well as those in Europe.”
Ignatius said the UAE government should be given due credit for this. “We should be proud about what the government is doing here,” he said.
Time Hotels is a UAE-headquartered hospitality company and hotel operator, has 14 properties consisting of 1,465 keys in operation across the UAE and wider GCC with new additional properties opening this year in Dubai, Sharjah, Fujairah, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. In 2022, Time Hotels will be opening another property, its first hotel in Mauritius, the 120-key TIME Phoenix Hill.
This year, TIME Hotels will open three hotels in the UAE, the 91-key TIME Moonstone Hotel Apartments in Fujairah; the 99-key TIME Burj Al Saadah Hotel Apartments in Sharjah and the much awaited four-star, 232-room TIME Asma Hotel, in Al Barsha, Dubai.
Just recently, another top hotel executive said Dubai’s hospitality sector is showing progress when it comes to attracting visitors, due to the government’s “very liberal view,” coupled with stringent health and safety protocols making travel to this city convenient and “very safe.”
“It is definitely on the rebound,” said Colin Baker, StayWell Holdings regional director for the Middle East and general manager of Park Regis Kris Kin Hotel, speaking to Dubai Vibes Magazine in an exclusive interview.
Baker said Dubai has “one of the strongest occupancies throughout the pandemic.” “The Dubai government immediately established protocols when the pandemic hit and continue to do so, thus travellers can now come here and enjoy their visit knowing the environment is safe,” Baker said. He said this has become a “demand generator for businesses to come to Dubai.”