x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Oberoi seeks Abu Dhabi opening

India's luxury hotel chain Oberoi group wants to open a property in Abu Dhabi.

An attendant stands outside The Oberoi in Mumbai. India's luxury hotel chain is "actively looking at opportunities in Abu Dhabi". Sajjad Hussain / AFP
An attendant stands outside The Oberoi in Mumbai. India's luxury hotel chain is "actively looking at opportunities in Abu Dhabi". Sajjad Hussain / AFP

India's luxury hotel chain Oberoi Group wants to open a property in Abu Dhabi.

"We are actively looking at opportunities in Abu Dhabi," said PRS Oberoi, executive chairman of the Oberoi Group in India.

"We are planning a number of new hotels in the region and will be making announcements shortly."

The group opened its first hotel in the country, a 252-room property in Dubai, in June.

"The timing of the opening of The Oberoi, Dubai, is fortuitous as the UAE is entering a new phase of growth," Mr Oberoi said.

Oberoi is one of the few luxury players from India to have a presence in the UAE. The other is Taj Hotels, Resorts and Palaces, a unit of Indian Hotels Company. It opened a 147-room hotel in Deira in 2000.

While Indian visitor numbers to Dubai have surged in recent years, operators from the country have kept a comparatively low profile.

"One of the main reasons could be the strong preference among owners and developers here towards international operators who can target a wider market," said Rashid Aboobacker, a senior consultant at TRI Hospitality Consulting. "Major international operators are armed with extensive sales and marketing networks across major source markets."

Another reason may be the profile of arriving tourists from the country.

The luxury market in the UAE is still dominated by tourists from the Arabian Gulf, Europe, Russia and Commonwealth of Independent States.

Founded in 1934, the Oberoi Group operates 30 five-star hotels, a Nile cruiser and a motor vessel in the backwaters of Kerala under the luxury Oberoi and five-star Trident brands. It also operates hotels in Egypt, Mauritius, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia besides India.

The Taj group of hotels, which opened its first hotel in 1903 and operates under Tata Group's Indian Hotels Company Limited banner, announced in 2006 a Taj Exotica Resort and Spa on the Palm Jumeirah Crescent in Dubai scheduled to open in 2008.

That same year, Taj had announced a 500-room Taj Palace Hotel Resort Yas Island and signed a contract with Saraya Islands to develop a luxury resort in Ras Al Khaimah by 2011. None of the projects have come to fruition.

There are some 80,000 hotel rooms in Dubai according to the Dubai Economic Council. Of these, 62 per cent of the total branded hotel inventory are estimated to be in the luxury segment.

A further 42,000 hotel rooms are in the pipeline in the emirate, almost half of which are in the luxury and upper upscale segments.

 

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