Hotel operators looking into Dubai World Central

Hotel operators are eyeing expansion opportunities at Dubai World Central, the planned city surrounding Al Maktoum International Airport.

Abu Dhabi-based Rotana expects to manage about four properties with a total of 1,000 rooms near DWC by 2020, said Omer Kaddouri, the president and chief executive of Rotana Hotel Management. Of these, the first can come online as early as 2016 along with a property in Dubai Investments Park.

“There are little signs of construction right now [at the place], but it will start happening now and they have five years to go,” he said. “And you know what can happen in five years in Dubai.”

DWC, which covers an area of 145 square kilometres, is designed to accommodate a population of 1 million and host residential, retail, healthcare, education and hospitality sectors.

DWC will also host the Expo 2020.

Yesterday, Dubai Airports said expansion work at the existing passenger terminal at Al Maktoum International will start later this year and will complete by the first quarter of 2017. It will boost the current capacity to 26 million passengers a year from 6 million currently.

“With traffic growth continuing at a rapid pace, the expansion of the current facility at DWC will help us accommodate future demand while the construction of the US$32 billion programme is in progress,” said Paul Griffiths, the chief executive of Dubai Airports.

When fully operational by the end of the next decade, it will be the world’s largest airport, capable of handling more than 200 million passengers a year.

The Swiss operator Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts, which runs six five-star properties in the UAE, is also eyeing opportunities near DWC.

“That airport will expand rapidly with theme parks nearby and Dubai is a place where you can put in a lot of hotels,” said Andreas Mattmüller, the chief operating officer at Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts for the Middle East and Asia.

Mövenpick is building a 250-room hotel near Dubai Knowledge Village which is expected to come on stream by the third quarter of 2017.

Separately, a senior DWC executive said that the area is set to become a destination of choice for businesses to set up global and regional headquarters.

“DWC is quickly evolving into a self-sustained, futuristic city it is meant to become,” said Paolo Serra, the vice president at DWC’s Business Park.

“By 2020, there will be powerful business and industry synergies operational between DWC, the Al Maktoum International Airport – which will become the world’s largest airport when complete – and the Jebel Ali Port.”

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