x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Hoteliers hope England makes Euro 2012 final

The French president and managing director of Atlantis The Palm finds himself rooting for England to make it all the way to the finals as fans flock to hotels showing the games, driving additional revenues to properties.

As football fever grips the UAE, hoteliers are hoping that England reaches the Euro 2012 finals and fans keep cash registers ringing. Alex Livesey / Getty Images
As football fever grips the UAE, hoteliers are hoping that England reaches the Euro 2012 finals and fans keep cash registers ringing. Alex Livesey / Getty Images

Serge Zaalof, as a Frenchman, would not naturally support England in a football competition.

But the president and managing director of Atlantis The Palm, Dubai's biggest resort, is rooting for England to make it all the way to the finals of the Euro 2012 championship as football fever grips the UAE and fans flock to hotels showing the games, driving additional revenues to properties.

"There are games that bring more customers," said Mr Zaalof. "Due to the fact that the British contingency in Dubai is the strongest, obviously when England is playing we do have a lot of guests coming here. England in the final would be very good for business."

The hotel has a vast tented venue where the games are being broadcast on a 10 metre by 6 metre screen and 25 smaller televisions. With summer being the low season, hotels in the UAE are welcoming extra revenues being generated by attracting crowds to watch the Euro games.

"It has been very good so far," said Mr Zaalof, who declined to provide revenue data, but said the resort was "very happy" with the business that has been generated.

The venue attracted 1,300 guests in total on Friday night when England won 3-2 against Sweden and France beat Ukraine 2-0.

This has been the busiest night so far. "When England played it was jam-packed," said Mr Zaalof.

The tables offered at the venue for the final and semi-finals and finals are already sold out. "We have guests who have booked the tables until the end of the tournament."

Hotels across the UAE have reported a similar trend and expect next week to be even busier as interest in the tournament builds up.

The Beach Rotana hotel in Abu Dhabi, which has converted its terrace and courtyard at its German restaurant Brauhaus into a Euro 2012 "village", said business had been even better than expected.

"For some of the matches, the ones that we didn't even think we would get as many people for, we've been getting good support," said Jasmine Arika, the director of marketing and communications at the hotel. "The weather has been brilliant as well, so lots of people have been sitting outside. The courtyard has been full almost on a daily basis." It even has a special accommodation package for the matches, which for Dh475 includes an overnight stay and breakfast for two, two special-edition Euro 2012 T-shirts and two welcome drinks for one match.

"I think of all the summer campaigns we have, the one that has been most successful is our package for the Euro cup," said Ms Arika.

She added teams such as Germany and England staying in the competition would definitely help business.

Meanwhile, Mr Zaalof said he was already starting to think about what Atlantis will do for the World Cup in two years' time.

rbundhun@thenational.ae