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Le Meridien in Fujairah expects successful 2013
(Abdul Basit) / 13 May 2013 Le Meridien Al Aqah Beach Resort in Fujairah expects 2013 will be another successful year with high occupancy rate and a double-digit growth over last year, according to general manager Patrick Antaki. The property is located on a 230 metres stretch of a pristine beach and fronted by the Indian Ocean with the breath-taking Hajar Mountains forming the backdrop. “The first quarter was ahead of last year. If rest of the year is going to be like Q1then it’s going to be a great year,” Antaki told Khaleej Times in an interview. Occupancy is almost full, he said, adding: “We closed March with around 90 per cent [occupancy]. We will probably look at 10 to 12 per cent better 2013 than last year.” Tourists’ arrival in Fujairah is increasing significantly every year. In 2012, the emirate hosted 1.2 million tourists, compared to 750,000 in 2011. At the moment, Fujairah has 2,800 hotel rooms, he said, adding that extra 1,000 rooms are going to open in the next 12 months. He mentioned that there is a lot to see in Fujairah as the emirate is home to most of the country’s heritage sites. In addition to that the hotel provides a lot of sea-related activities every day. “We also want to diversify the guests experience and that’s the reason the hotel is starting to set up excursion with helidubai and also planning seaplane facility from Dubai to Fujairah,” he explained. In December last year, the hotel celebrated its 10th anniversary and this year the hotel will undergo with the first phase of refurbishment. “We will spend Dh50 million on refurbishment, which will start from next month. We will do 100 rooms this year and remaining in next summer.” The hotel is also pending money to provide seamless connectivity of tablets and smartphones to TVs, so the guest can see photos and watch movies from their own devices, he informed. Antaki, who is also general manager of Al Maha Desert Resort and Spa, said it’s a luxury property and despite high rates it’s doing very well.
Interior companies see growing demand
Hospitality interior spend in GCC to reach $1.62 billion in 2013 • By Deena Kamel YousefStaff Reporter Dubai:Local and international design companies say demand is increasing for hospitality interiors and fit-outs due to a growing number of hotel projects announced recently in Dubai. “Naturally, after 2008 there has been a return to progress in all sectors, in infrastructure, government support and people’s needs. We see that the UAE and GCC’s growth and development has exceeded that of most countries in the world,” Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance, told Gulf News after opening the International Design Exhibition (Index) on Monday. Al Aqili Furnishings, a UAE-based furniture company, saw demand for furniture grow 20 to 30 per cent so far in 2013 compared to the same time last year. “There has been an improvement in business from the hospitality and residential sectors since the beginning of the year. There are new hotels coming up and refurbishments.” said Rashid Yousif, business director of Al Aqili, on the sidelines of the International Design Exhibition (Index) that opened Monday. “For local furniture manufacturers, they mainly supply hotels and there’s more than enough work.” The hospitality sector, at 19 per cent of total interiors and fitouts spends in the GCC, will be worth $1.62 billion in 2013, up from $1.33 billion in 2012, according to a study by management consultancy Ventures Middle East. “The growth in the hospitality sector and holiday homes has added great demand to the furniture and fittings industry,” said Hilal Al Marri, chief executive of the Dubai World Trade Centre, after the show opening. However, some local interiors companies are still struggling to catch up with their international counterparts for business with the hospitality sector here. “It depends on the client’s budget and delivery time. but in design no one can exceed the European companies…we just don’t have the technology for some things,” said Bassam Merheb, head of sourcing at Galaxy Trading, a UAE-based company that supplied ceramics to The Address Downtown hotel. La Farma, an Italian customised and hand-made furniture company, participated in Index to seek opportunities in Dubai. “We hope to target villas and boutique hotels with customisation in design and specifications,” said Chiara Del Bene, manager of the family business. Others were more sceptical of the interiors work done here. “The hotel projects here look impressive but they’re made cheaply and commercially. They aim to make a profit in five years and then re-decorate,” said Thomas Faustig, president of chandelier manufacturer Faustig. “There’s no long-term décor investment, everything is like a movie mock-up.” Instead, Faustig is targeting work in the private palaces in Dubai, which could cost starting from €100,000, he said. Dubai has announced several hotel projects including 100 hotels in the Mohammad Bin Rashid City and the $1 billion Viceroy Hotel on the Palm Jumeirah.
UAE sees capital influx
Issac John / 21 May 2013 Ideal local investment opportunities and political stability have triggered an increased inflow of private capital, mostly from India, Russia and China, into the UAE, a study by Invesco shows. The UAE, which has become the key beneficiary of private capital flow into the GCC, is attracting investments mostly from emerging markets, the investment company said on Monday. Participants in the study estimate that 43 per cent of private capital flow into the UAE is from emerging markets including 15 per cent from India, 10 per cent from Russia, and seven per cent from China. Invesco, however, did not provide specific data on the size of the capital flow. While capital flow from emerging markets overtook those from developed markets that accounted only for just 13 per cent of the total, over a third (35 per cent) of capital into the UAE came from the wider Mena region and nine per cent from the other GCC countries. Invesco study is in line with a recent private capital survey by Cluttons showing that Dubai remained the most attractive destination to private investors within the GCC region, with Riyadh and Doha emerging as strong secondary and tertiary target locations, respectively. According to Cluttons study, Dubai emerged as the top investment target for both investors from the UAE and those from all other cities surveyed, with 80 per cent of high networth individuals very likely to make an investment in Dubai during 2013. “While capital is flowing into the UAE, overall capital in remaining GCC markets including Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait and Qatar appears to be exiting home markets, making the UAE the key focus for capital flowing into the region,” Invesco report said. Nick Tolchard, head of Invesco Middle East, said the study is supported by national statistics showing a nine per cent net increase in UAE bank deposits during 2012, and a 17 per cent annualised growth rate in UAE property prices over the same period — both indicators of increasing capital flow. According to a third of participants, the key factor luring private capital into the UAE is its relative political stability compared to the Mena region. “This is a consequence of continued regional instability — not just in Syria but in Egypt and other parts of North Africa.” The second driver for 29 per cent of participants is the local investment opportunity. “This is the overriding reason for Indian, Russian and Chinese markets investing in the region — an example of ‘South-South’ trade in action,” said study. Tolchard said the latest study provided a strong indication of a structural shift in the UAE’s fortunes. The UAE seems to be showing signs of developing a leading position as a regional hub between Europe and Asia. “As an investment centre, the UAE has been proactive in attempting to build relationships and encourage investment from emerging markets so these inflows could also be indicative of UAE policy rather than simply emerging markets seizing the opportunity. This re-balancing has been important to the UAE recovery, as developed markets continue to focus on the economic situation closer to home.”
UAE growth quickens to 4.4percent in 2012
Reuters) / 20 May 2013 Economic growth in the UAE accelerated to 4.4 per cent in inflation-adjusted terms in 2012 from a downwardly revised 3.9 per cent the previous year as activity picked up across all sectors, its statistics office said on Sunday. “One of the most important factors is the role played by good and stable oil prices in general over the last year,” the National Bureau of Statistics in the Opec member said in a data commentary. “All economic activities saw positive improvement in their growth rates in 2012, which has positively reflected on the value of the country’s GDP (gross domestic product),” it said. Oil prices averaged $112 per barrel last year, up from $109 in 2011, the office said, adding that the non-oil sector share on the Gulf country’s real GDP was estimated at 67.3 per cent in 2012.
UAE tops GCC spend in home fit-outs market
Also estimated to be top regional spender on retail interior contracting • By Deena Kamel Yousef, Staff Reporter Dubai: The UAE is expected to be the biggest spender in the GCC on home interiors and fit-outs, with an estimated $1.5 billion (Dh5.5 billion) budget in 2013 as the country’s residential market continues to grow. Residential units worth approximately $13.9 billion are expected to be completed in the UAE this year, with interior contracting and fit-outs amounting to 11 per cent (or $1.5 billion) of the total project costs, according to a study by Ventures Middle East, released ahead of the International Design Exhibition (Index) and Office Exhibition that opens on Monday. The UAE is also estimated to be the largest spender in the GCC on retail interior contracting and fit-outs this year with $266 million. Several retail outlets are slated for opening this year such as the Yas Mall in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, the report said. “The market had a difficult couple of years. But there’s no question now as we look around us of the growing activity in the UAE and GCC, whether hotels or residential complexes or office lots. There’s growth and the exhibition reflects that. More companies are taking this market seriously,” Bernard Welsh, founder of Index and senior business advisor at the organisers, dmg events, said in an interview. In the GCC, spending on interiors is expected to increase 28 per cent to $9.2 billion in 2013 from $7.2 billion last year, the study showed. KSA surpasses UAE Saudi Arabia overtook the UAE in demand for interiors and fit-outs in the last quarter of 2012 and now has a 38 per cent share of the market compared to the UAE’s 36 per cent. The 23rd edition of Index will feature 850 exhibitors from 45 countries while the Office Exhibition that showcases designs for the commercial sector will have 120 exhibitors from 20 countries, Welsh said. About 75 per cent of the participating exhibitors are international and 25 per cent are UAE-based companies, he said. The exhibition had “small growth” since last year because the previous show was held in September and was moved forward to May this year based on exhibitors’ request, he said. “Some companies could not come twice in six years, but still the show got a large number of exhibitors.” In the GCC, hotel interiors and fit-outs spending will be worth $1.62 billion in 2013, up from $1.33 billion in 2012. “There is a huge plan to promote tourism in Dubai with the vision of 20 million visitors by 2020. So, Dubai will need a huge number of new hotels. All of this will need good use of suppliers of interior products, there will be big demand,” Welsh said. Commercial market The expanding supply of commercial real estate in the GCC provided opportunities worth $1.15 billion for interiors development in 2012. This is likely to grow to $1.43 billion in 2013. The UAE was the largest commercial interiors and fit-outs market with a spend of $504 million in 2012. Saudi Arabia will surpass its $498 million spend in 2013 with $563 million this year. “The commercial sector that was static for a number of years is on the move again,” Welsh added. The show will run until Thursday at the Dubai World Trade Centre.
GCC projects spend ?$7.2 billion on interiors
(Staff Report) / 20 May 2013 A recent report has revealed that GCC projects spent over $7.2 billion on interiors and fit-outs in 2012 and expects that spending to increase by 28 per cent to $9.2 billion in 2013. The report by Ventures Middle East was released with findings from the Index International Design Exhibition and The Office Exhibition, the Middle East and North Africa’s largest and longest running interior design and fit out exhibition, which starts today. The report included an analysis on the four pillars of the real estate sector – commercial, hospitality, residential and retail – and stated that interior spends now account for 10 to 20 per cent of the total costs of GCC projects. The report also revealed that the Saudi demand for interiors and fit outs surpassed the UAE’s in the last quarter of 2012 and now has a share of 38 per cent on the back of heavy government spending, nudging ahead of the UAE’s 36 per cent. Kuwait and Qatar each have a market share of 16 per cent while Oman doubled spending to four per cent. Bahrain showed a decline in interiors and fit out spends with a negative growth rate of 10 per cent. “As demand for interiors and fit outs mirrors project completions, refurbishments and tighter budgets were the trend during 2011 and 2012. Ideas such as better space management, flexibility and environmental sustainability in design and open plan layouts gained ground. The GCC interiors and fit outs market is now moving towards a more personality driven design trend as the market is coming back,” said Frederique Maurell, event director for Index 2013 and The Office Exhibition.
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