Chief commercial officer at Jumeirah Group
On recent projects
This year has been great because we’re growing our portfolio within the region and further. We have two projects very close to opening – one is in Muscat and the other is in Bahrain. We’ve just opened our first property in Bali as well. We have a number of destinations in Dubai where we’re actually ahead of pre-pandemic levels in terms of occupancy.
On expansion in Saudi Arabia
We’re very focused on Saudi as an emerging destination brand and we have a number of projects. We have a property under development in Makkah that we expect to open this year, or early next year. And it’s part of a large master plan development within Makkah. We’re also keen to pursue opportunities in Riyadh and Jeddah.
Coming to the giga projects in the Red Sea, we have a project under construction on Shurayrah island. We are working very closely with John [Pagano] and his team on how we will enter that market. It’s a very integrated island. We are going to operate it in partnership with Red Sea Development to ensure that it is aligned with their goals.
On emerging trends and growth
Last year, we found [the rise of] pure leisure travel, almost like a sort of ‘revenge travel’ scenario which is another buzzword that’s coming around the industry. We saw leisure travel come back very quickly across our core properties in July. This year, we’re starting to see this b-leisure travel across our properties in Emirates Towers, Jumeirah Creekside Hotel and also in extended stay brands like Jumeirah Living. In 2021, in Dubai, our average length of stay grew by 24 per cent compared to pre-pandemic levels.