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Dubai launches new hotel classification system

Budget category for hotels created outside 1 to 5 star rating scheme

Image Credit: Megan Hirons Mahon/Gulf News
The Dubai stand at the Arabian Travel Market. The Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing yesterday announced a new hotel classification scheme.
Gulf News

Dubai: Hotels, rest houses, serviced apartments and student accommodation in Dubai will be brought under a new classification, it was announced on Monday.

It will be implemented later this year within a 12-month period replacing the existing classification system, a government statement said.

The Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), Dubai's tourism licensing and promotional body, yesterday announced the launch of the new hotel classification scheme that broadens the existing system in line with the organisation's broader vision to guide the emirate's growing tourism industry.

In focus: Arabian Travel Market
Pictures from the Arabian Travel Market

While the hotels have been categorised in 1-5 star ratings, the new classification system added a ‘budget' hotel category that has been kept outside the 1-5 rating. The new scheme also added a number of new criteria in the classification, including Resorts, Guest House, Timeshare, Youth Hostel, Self-Catering and University Campus accommodations.


Apart from these, the new classification system also includes a new criterion — Accolades — that communicates the exceptional level of luxury guest accommodation available in the Emirate of Dubai, and identify and reward those 5-star hotels and resorts which consistently exceed expectations. Recognition is defined at two levels: Gold and Platinum.

Additionally, the scheme introduces designators. Designators are essential tools of the new classification scheme, which promote the specialities offered by the destination through its guest accommodation portfolio.

"DTCM's objective of the new classification scheme is to broaden the scope of accommodation and make it diverse, collaborative, sustainable, fair and international, yet customised to the local environment," a statement said yesterday.

To support the successful implementation of the new quality standards, DTCM has invested in extensive training programmes for all assessors, and the ongoing development of classification software, to automate the entire process.

The new scheme has been extensively researched and benchmarked against other international and national destinations.

The move comes a few days after the Dubai government announced electronic linkage of all hotels and hotel apartments with the DTCM and Dubai Police for better monitoring and coordination. It is, however, unclear if the DTCM will bring all of these, including student accommodation, under its supervision and monitoring.

Launching the new Guest Accommodation Classification at the Arabian Travel Market, Majid Sager Al Merri, Director of the Hotel Classification Department, said: "DTCM as the governing body for the licensing and classification of guest accommodation in the emirate, and in line with its vision and mission of sustained development of tourism in the emirate, has undertaken extensive research including benchmarking key local and international destinations, assessing current market offerings, identifying guest expectations, to establish both a comprehensive guest accommodation framework and common grading standards.

"We have endeavoured to develop a scheme which supports our strategy of positioning the emirate as a major contender within the international tourism community, both today and in the future, by creating investor opportunities, and ensuring that guest needs are well catered to."

Hoteliers say the move expands the guest accommodation critera to self-catering as well as student accommodation.

"We welcome this great announcement by Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing. The new hotel classification is a definite plus for Dubai and will further enhance the destination's appeal among international travelers by offering them greater choice in terms of accommodation tailored to their requirements," Michael Noblet, President and Chief Executive of Hospitality Management Holdings, told Gulf News.

"It is an opportunity to maximise our reach among a wider clientele. At the same time broadening the classification will reinforce the quality and reputation of our industry worldwide. It will also compel hoteliers to make an extra effort to exceed the customer's expectations."