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Fujairah to open 5 luxury hotels

Emirate’s hotel guest numbers jump 60% to 1.2m in 2012 as it seeks to expand sector

Le Meridien Al Aqah Beach Resort, Fujairah
Gulf News

Dubai: Five new luxury resorts will grace Fujairah’s picturesque landsacpe, among nearly a dozen hotels that are being built on the UAE’s East Coast, a top official said.

Last year 20 hotels with 2,800 rooms catered to 1.2 million guests. This is a 60 per cent jump from 750,000 hotel guests that stayed in Fujairah’s hotels in 2011. Fujairah’s importance is growing in the UAE’s tourism sector, which last year served 14.5 million visitors that helped hotels in the country to generate Dh21 billion revenues, according to the UAE National Council of Tourism and Antiquities (NCTA). Of this, Dubai’s hotels hosted more than 10 million guests.

“Five new luxury resorts with 1,000 guest rooms are currently at various stages of development in Fujairah, when opened, will cater to a wider number of tourists,” Ahmad Khalifa Al Shamsi, Chairman of Fujairah Tourism Authority, said. “These will be operated by major international hotel chains such as Fairmont, Intercontinental, Millennium, Ibis and Novotel.”

He said, Fujairah’s hotels have witnessed a 15 per cent increase in occupancy as well as average daily rate.

“We are currently focusing on the infrastructure and accessibility. A number of road projects are currently at various stages of construction, that once completed, will help greater convenience to the visitors,” he said.

“About 70 per cent of the guests in our beachfront properties are foreigners while in the city hotels, the ratio if opposite — 30 per cent guests are foreigners,” Al Shamsi said.

Day trips

However, Fujairah caters to a larger number of tourists who visit the emirate on day trips, without staying in hotels — that are not counted in the tourism statistics. Everyday, thousands of international tourists are taken to the emirate on day-long trips by tour operators.

The East Coast of the UAE boasts a 60-kilometre strip on the Arabian Sea coastline that is graced with the Hajar mountain range — that makes it a tourist haven and a must-see for every leisure traveller to the UAE.

Most ground handling agents usually take foreign tourists on a day-trip to the circle starting from Masafi through Dibba, Al Aqah Beach, Khorfakkan, Fujairah and Kalba and back to Dubai via Masafi and the Friday Market. The government of Sharjah and the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) is planning a number of resorts and eco-tourism sites on the East Coast that will boost both domestic tourism and international arrivals to the area.

Patrick Antaki, General Manager of Le Meridien Al Aqah Hotel, said, “Al Aqah Beach has become a major tourism attraction with lots of new hotels being developed in the area that collectively attracts tourists to the area. We have pristine beach and mountains that are liked by visitors — both international and domestic.”

The hotel which completed 10 years, will soon undergo a Dh25 million refurbishment this summer.