The developer of some of the most luxurious hotels in Dubai, Emaar Properties, has announced a budget brand called Dubai Inn in collaboration with Meraas Holding, with an eye on Dubai’s Expo 2020 bid.
The brand will have several hotels across the city.
“One of the key drivers to achieving the Dubai Tourism Vision 2020, to double the number of annual tourists to 20 million by the turn of the decade, is to offer a wider choice of affordable hotels that appeal to the new generation of travellers,” said Mohamed Alabbar, the chairman of Emaar Properties.
The confidence in Dubai’s tourism sector is borne out of its strategic location and the hope that it would continue to attract tourists.
Two-thirds of the world population live within an eight-hour flight from Dubai, Mr Alabbar said, expecting to tap into short-haul travellers or transit passengers for extended stays.
Emaar’s flagship property is its 160-room Armani Hotel Dubai in Burj Khalifa and The Address Hotels and Resorts. Last week, it opened its first 156-room facility under Vida Hotels and Resorts brand also in Downtown Dubai.
“These [budget hotels] will also meet the demands of the exhibition and conference sector of the city, which is witnessing unprecedented growth, led by Dubai’s status as a regional business hub and gateway to the wider Middle East and North Africa markets,” Mr Alabbar said.
Emaar’s expansion into the budget segment did not come as a surprise to analysts.
"Given Dubai’s vision to significantly increase tourism traffic over the coming years it is only logical that the budget sector should be targeted,” said Peter Goddard, managing director of TRI Hospitality Consulting Middle East in Dubai.
In Dubai, 5-star hotel rooms comprise 62 per cent of the total branded hotel inventory. Of the 42,000 hotel rooms in pipeline, nearly 50 per cent are in the luxury and upper upscale segments.
There were 80,000 hotel rooms in Dubai in 2012, according to Dubai Economic Council in a report released yesterday.