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Emaar Properties, Dubai’s largest property developer, said it will expand Dubai Mall to include luxury homes, serviced residences and a new hotel as part of its 1m sq ft expansion.
The developer, which in February announced plans to expand the world’s largest mall, will also add a shopping boulevard lined with restaurants and water attractions.

Emaar Properties said it will expand Dubai Mall to include luxury homes, serviced residences and a new hotel as part of its 1m sq ft expansion.

The sale of the residential units, which will feature direct access to the new shopping boulevard as well as views of The Dubai Fountain and the Burj Khalifa, will launch soon, the developer said in a statement Thursday.

“With the mall expansion to feature a modern hotel, luxury homes and serviced residences, designed to the world-class standards associated with Emaar, we are further contributing to strengthening Dubai’s powerful growth drivers – the tourism, retail, hospitality and business environments,” said Ahmad Al Matrooshi, managing director, Emaar Properties.

Emaar said it had completed the masterplan for the extension and expected construction work to begin soon.

Dubai Mall, which boasts 1,200 retail stores and 160 food and beverage outlets, was the world’s most visited shopping and leisure destination last year. Over 54m shoppers visited the mall between January and September, up 15 percent compared to the same period the previous year.

Dubai, home to some of the world’s glitziest shopping malls and an indoor ski slope, has staged something of a recovery this year, partly due a tourism and retail boom. Tourist arrivals increased 10 percent and hotel revenue 19 percent in the first half of the year.

Retail accounts for around 30 percent of GDP in the emirate, according to Standard Chartered estimates. Dubai is home to about 40 shopping malls.

Emaar last week said it would cooperate with Dubai Holding to build a new tourism and leisure development in the emirate, which will include an even bigger mall. Mohammed bin Rashid City will feature a retail complex ‘Mall of the World’ and more than 100 hotels able to accommodate up to 80m visitors a year.

“The current facilities available in Dubai need to be scaled up in line with the future ambitions for the city,” Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum said in a statement.
Dubai aims to become a business and cultural capital for 2bn people in the surrounding region, he added.

The emirate also announced this week it had approved plans for a AED10bn (US$2.7bn) entertainment and leisure development to the south of Dubai in Jebel Ali, which will include five theme parks.

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The Ascott Limited (Ascott), has opened its first premier serviced residence in Qatar, Ascott Doha. With the 229-unit Ascott Doha, Ascott has a network of over 1,000 apartment units across six properties in four countries in the Gulf region.

At Ascott Doha, discerning travellers can experience an exclusive and luxurious stay within the elegantly designed apartments, complemented by personalised services and comprehensive recreation and business facilities. The serviced residence is located in the diplomatic centre of the city and at the north end of the Corniche waterfront promenade, fronting Doha Bay, offering stunning vistas of the Arabian coast and easy access to City Centre Mall, Qatar’s best known retail and entertainment spot. Business travellers staying at the property will find themselves a stone’s throw away from the Doha Exhibition Centre and a 10-minute drive from the city’s business and financial district.

Mr Vincent Wee, Ascott’s Managing Director for India and Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC), said: “We see strong demand for serviced residences in Qatar. Qatar, one of the fastest growing economies in the world, continues to attract significant foreign direct investments. It is also a host to major international events such as the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Our first serviced residence in Qatar, Somerset West Bay Doha, has been achieving occupancy of over 80%. Ascott Doha heralds a new benchmark for luxury serviced residences and it is well-positioned to attract the growing number of expatriates and travellers arriving in the city.”

“Ascott is a Singapore brand which has gained international repute for its quality properties worldwide and we welcome travellers to experience our new premier Ascott Doha. We will also open our properties in Oman, Somerset Panorama Muscat and Sohar Garden Residences, over the next 24 months. To expand our presence in the GCC, we will continue to establish new partnerships with property owners in Qatar, Bahrain, UAE, Oman and Saudi Arabia,” added Mr Wee.

Ideal for guests on relocation, a business or leisure trip, Ascott Doha offers guests a range of spacious studio, one, two and three-bedroom apartments to suit their lifestyle needs. Each apartment comes with a fully-equipped kitchen, en-suite bathrooms, separate dining and living areas as well as modern amenities such as a home entertainment system, complimentary wireless Internet access and iPod docking station.

To relax, guests can choose from an indoor or a rooftop temperature-controlled pool, a fully-equipped gymnasium, jacuzzi, sauna and steam rooms. Ascott Doha also provides business travellers with business centre services, meeting rooms and WiFi access. Guests can purchase groceries at the property’s mini-mart and cook within the comfort of their apartment or simply visit the restaurant and cafe located at Ascott Doha for a satisfying meal.

Besides Ascott Doha and Somerset West Bay Doha, Ascott also manages Ascott Park Place in Dubai and Somerset Al Fateh in Bahrain.

To celebrate the opening of Ascott Doha, Ascott is offering special introductory rates from QAR 850 per night. Promotion ends on the 30th December 2012 and is subject to availability.

During the recently held Arab Travel Market (ATM) in Dubai, Taameer Investment (SAOC), in the presence of elite international and Omani travel and tourism senior executives headed by Maitha al Mahrouqia, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism, and some top executives from Oman Air, signed a ‘Hospitality Management Contract’ with Shaza Hotels.
The contract was signed by Suleiman bin Masoud al Harthi, CEO of Taameer Investment and Simon Coombs, CEO of Shaza Hotels, in the presence of Shaikh Salim bin Ahmad al Ghazali, Chairman of Taameer Investment. A ‘Resort Management Contract’ was also signed for Dhofar Beach Resort, a tourism project developed by Taameer Investment in the Dhofar Governorate.
Taameer Investment decided to announce the signing ceremony during the ATM due to the importance of the Arab Travel Market being the largest travel and tourism event in the Middle East region.
Located in Salalah, Taameer aims to develop a global five-star resort with a capacity of 300 rooms including serviced apartments and international restaurants. Once completed, the project will introduce a premier concept for hotel services in Salalah and thereby enhance tourism in Dhofar Governorate.
Earlier, Taameer Investment had signed other contracts with a number of internationally reputed consultants to develop and carry out the design of interiors, landscaping and swimming pools.
Shaza Hotels is an independent five-star hotel operator, supported by Kempinski, hoteliers since 1897 and Guidance Hotel Investment Company — Shaza’s regional financial partner and also a member of the Global Hotel Alliance.
Suleiman al Harthi, CEO of Taameer Investment, commented: “The signing ceremony would be followed by various activities and preparations for the start of the construction while the inauguration of Dhofar Beach Resort is planned for September 2012.
Taameer Investment (SAOC) is one of Oman’s leading investment companies with various investments in real estate, industrial, financial and service sectors. Taameer Investment was established in 2006 and since then, the company has grown progressively to be one of the leading investment companies in Oman with effective contribution towards the national economic growth.

Dubai’s tourism industry achieved a 20 per cent jump in revenues to Dh16 billion last year due to a number of factors, including Arab Spring and the addition of new properties.
The emirate’s 575 hotels and serviced apartments catered to 9.30 million tourists last year, a growth of 10 per cent over the 8.49 million in 2010.
Of these, 7.26 million guests stayed in hotels, up from 6.56 million in 2010.
This reflects an increase in room rates as hotel occupancy stabilised at 74 per cent, said a latest report by the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), the tourism regulatory body.

Dubai’s tourism infrastructure coupled with the Arab Spring helped divert tourists traffic to Dubai.
“We have seen a 30 per cent increase in hotel rates in recent months,” Muin Serhan, general manager of the Millennium Plaza Hotel, told Gulf News.
“Of course, the Arab Spring has helped tourists to come to Dubai, and its world-class infrastructure has also helped attract visitors from the region.”
Guest nights rose 23 per cent to 32.84 million in 2011. Hotels contributed 23.26 million guest nights.
Hotel apartments experienced an increase of over two million guests, with these properties contributing 9.5 million guest nights last year against 7.5 million in 2010.
Similarly, the average length of stay stood at 3.6 days, up by 12 per cent over the previous year.
Gassan Aridi, chief executive of Alpha Tours, said, in addition to the Arab Spring, the long-term reputation of Dubai helped.
“There is a combination of factors for this growth. Dubai has a strong reputation as a leading tourism destination — that helped along with the Arab Spring,” he said.
“Besides, new tourism products and hotels have helped attract visitors, such as the Burj Khalifa and hotels in that neighbourhood.
He said room rates will stabilise. “There are a number of new hotels coming on line this year which will increase supplies.”
One of the key reasons for growth is the expansion of Emirates airline, which is the biggest supplier of hotel guests.
Emirates carries more than 34 million passengers a year, a significant number of whom stay in the hotels.
However, DTCM Director General Khalid Al Bin Sulayem said: “We have been successful in boosting the number of tourists to Dubai due to our initiatives to enhance our position in established markets and tap new and emerging tourism source markets.
“The substantial gains by hotels and hotel apartments reflect, once again, the vibrancy and dynamism of the tourism industry in the emirate.”
In 2011, Saudi Arabia emerged as the top source market for Dubai’s tourism industry with 873,152 guests, followed by India with 702,142, and British tourists with 643,196.
The number of tourists from Iran reached 476,708 and the US rose to 462,653.
Industry may face headwinds
Dubai: Despite attracting more tourists from the GCC and Asian countries last year, Dubai may expect some strong headwinds in the near future, analysts said.
“The year 2011 began with a marginal rebound in the GDP of developing economies with developed economies registering gradual growth. However, towards the end of the year, most developing economies in Asia including India and China reported a decline in GDP growth and lower GDP outlook for the year ahead. We may also expect sluggish growth in US and Europe due to various economic issues that need attention in 2012,” Sheetal Kothari, Research Analyst, Business and Financial Services Practice, Frost & Sullivan, told Gulf News.
“These circumstances of the global economy would exert a downward pressure on oil prices. On the other hand, increasing unrest due to the Iran-US standoff has the potential to push oil prices upward. The interplay of these factors increases the uncertainty in the outlook for oil prices. The outlook for UAE tourism is uncertain.”

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