Dubai World Central is to get two hotels as the emirate’s new aviation hub expands.
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has signed a franchise agreement with Abjar Hotels International to build a 450-room Holiday Inn and a 250-room Staybridge Suites near Al Maktoum International Airport.
Once completed, Al Maktoum airport will be the world’s largest and will be able to cater to 200 million passengers annually.
“Dubai is a key growth city for us in the Middle East and with the development of new infrastructure we see greater opportunities for us to build our brands’ presence here,” said Pascal Gauvin, regional chief operating officer at IHG. “Dubai World Central is set to become a major commercial hub with immense potential for us to cater to the rise in business and leisure travel.”
The Holiday Inn property will be the fifth to open in the UAE. The Staybridge Suites will cater to guests on extended stays and will feature rooms with fully-equipped kitchens.
It will be the brand’s first in the Middle East to open under the franchise model with two other hotels set to open within the next three to five years in the country.
Dubai is expecting 25 million visitors for Expo 2020, of which about 70 per cent will be from overseas. The 145 square kilometre Dubai World Central, the first city to be designed around an airport, is expected to play host to the majority of the visitors.
“It’s a good long-term, strategic move given vast development plans at DWC. If it’s timed prematurely it may have low occupancy but if it’s timed towards the expo, it could do quite well,” said Peter Goddard, the managing director at TRI Hospitality Consulting.
UAE-based Abjar Hotels International has five IHG properties in its portfolio in Dubai. IHG’s portfolio includes 17 hotels across five brands in the UAE — InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express and Staybridge Suites.
The company will open a further nine hotels in the next three to five years.