Hos­pi­tal­ity up­grades

In­dus­try chang­ing to cater for new types of guest

7 Days in Dubai - - NEWS - By Shoshana Ke­dem @B_Shosh shoshana@7days.ae

The ho­tel in­dus­try in Dubai is evolv­ing to ac­com­mo­date young “mil­len­nial” trav­ellers who want to ex­plore and dine on a bud­get, in­dus­try ex­perts have said.

While still known for its pala­tial prop­er­ties and lav­ish set­tings, del­e­gates at The Ho­tel Show Dubai said the emi­rate is mov­ing to­wards ca­ter­ing for a much broader range of vis­i­tor.

Ray Tin­ston, Port­fo­lio Di­rec­tor at dmg events, the or­gan­is­ers of this year’s show, said: “We’re look­ing at where hos­pi­tal­ity is mov­ing – and it’s not about the tra­di­tional restau­rants you see around town.

“There’s food trucks, there’s food mar­kets, there’s peo­ple com­ing to the mar­ket with un­usual in­gre­di­ents and un­usual ideas about food ser­vice.

“The food trucks and pop-up restau­rants and restau­rants in ship­ping con­tain­ers are all part of this rev­o­lu­tion in hos­pi­tal­ity. We’re try­ing to show that through some of our in­stal­la­tions.”

A colour­ful col­lec­tion of makeshift food trucks are among the ex­hibits sprawling across the floors of the ho­tel show, which con­tin­ues to­day and to­mor­row at Dubai World Trade Cen­tre.

Among the re­cent launches are food truck pit­stops at Meeras Last Exit on the out­skirts of the city and in the Steigen­berger Ho­tel in Busi­ness Bay, which has launched the Back Yard restau­rant serv­ing Asian street food from a food truck.

Car­o­line List, In­ter­na­tional Sales Man­ager for data firm TopHotelPro­jects, said there is a re­newed shift to­wards ca­ter­ing for non-busi­ness and lux­ury travel vis­i­tors.

She said: “Dubai has al­ways been a hub for busi­ness trav­ellers and what they have done in the last few years is try to en­ter the mid-mar­ket seg­ment, to get more at­trac­tive to bud­get trav- ellers, so-called mil­len­ni­als. Dubai’s govern­ment and tourism coun­cil are con­stantly try­ing to rein­vent things to at­tract tourists.”

Dubai aims to at­tract 20 mil­lion vis­i­tors per year by 2020, up from about 14 mil­lion in 2015.

List said the Expo 2020 and the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar are sig­nif­i­cant drivers in the de­ci­sion by ho­tel chains to con­tinue ex­pan­sion.

She added: “Dubai cur­rently has 180 new projects com­ing up in the pipe­line, with the ma­jor­ity plan­ning to open in 2020 for the big cul­tural events such as such as the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar – where Dubai ex­pects most of the vis­i­tors to pass through – and of course the Expo, dur­ing which Dubai ex­pects al­most 25 mil­lion vis­i­tors through the en­tire event.”

Among the most im­pres­sive new ho­tels is the ME Dubai Ho­tel, de­signed by renowned Bri­tishIraqi ar­chi­tect Zaha Ha­did, who passed away in March of this year. The project is just one of the 59 ho­tels set to open in 2017.

Gary Wil­liams, Event Di­rec­tor of the show, said the ME Dubai “is an in­di­ca­tion of fan­tas­tic ar­chi­tec­tural de­sign­ers want­ing to come and com­pete in the most com­pet­i­tive land­scape in the world”.

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