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Jumeirah aims for bigger regional footprint

Dubai: Luxury hotel chain, Jumeirah Group, aims to strengthen its presence in the Middle East and Africa.

“It’s very important for Jumeirah, now that we have established ourselves as an international luxury hotel brand, to come back into our home region as a strong international brand,” Gerald Lawless, President and chief executive of Jumeirah Group, told Gulf News in an interview.

Jumeirah Group is expanding its operations in the Middle East and North Africa and the Asia Pacific regions.

Saudi Arabia is “an important” market for Jumeirah, Lawless said. “We are hopeful of achieving significant presence in Saudi Arabia,” he added.

Jumeirah said earlier this year that it is working on five management agreements with private property owners in Saudi Arabia, but according to Lawless, these have “not” been finalised.

The group expects to have hotels in Saudi Arabia in five years’ time. “Five years from now, I would expect we would have at least three hotels in Saudi Arabia,” Lawless said, adding that Makkah, Madinah, Jeddah, Riyadh and Al Khobar are the main areas of focus for the group.

In May, the group opened its first property in the Gulf outside the UAE, in Kuwait.

“[Jumeirah Messilah] achieved a good reputation in the market place,” Lawless said. “We’ve exceeded our targets for that hotel.”

He added that Doha, Qatar, is another area of focus.

Meanwhile, Jumeirah is discussing opportunities in Angola, South Africa and Kenya, according to Lawless. “There are so many companies interested in Jumeirah,” he said.