TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: How has this year been at the hotel?
FADEEL WEHBE: This is our second year of operation; obviously we have seen a great improvement in our business both in terms of occupancy and revenues.
The hotel has become much more well known. We are catering to the Jumierah Lakes Towers market and of course the Jebel Ali Free Zone area, Media City, Internet City and Al Barsha Heights. Overall, we have definitely seen a great improvement in occupancy levels and well as in footfall at our outlets.
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: With preparations underway to cater to some 20 million annual visitors, how do you see Dubai’s future?
FADEEL WEHBE: Dubai already caters to around 10 million visitors a year and the current infrastructure that is in place and what is being planned and undertaken will prepare Dubai to handle 20 million, or even more, visitors by 2020.
What hoteliers like me can do is to make sure that we are ready, we have the right team in place and we have the right tools in place to offer guests visiting Dubai the best experience possible.
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: Dubai has long been famed for its high-end offerings and one of kind tourism products. What are the main issues that need to be addressed in order to avoid sacrificing quality for quantity?
FADEEL WEHBE: It is always important to focus on quality and not quantity.
However, Dubai has also focussed on the fact that we need to have enough three and four-star properties to cater for those guests who would like to come and stay in economy and midscale hotels.
We have seen in the past few years – and will continue to see in the coming years – a surge in three and four-star hotels being built and managed by internationally reputed chains.
Obviously, it is not that Dubai is going cheap or is offering now economy stays but that there are varied types of clients and they would like to have the choice to stay in five, four or three-star hotels.
The most important thing is that we as hoteliers do not compromise on our service or our standards whether it is a three or four-star establishment.
We need to ensure that guests feel that they are getting value for their money.
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: Dubai’s tourism vision has set ambitions goals for the next few years. Could the achievement of these targets mean that Dubai will reach its full potential by 2020?
FADEEL WEHBE: Dubai continues to grow and it will grow beyond 2020.
The good thing about Dubai is the forward thinking and the execution which is always done professionally in a timely manner.
I think Dubai already has plans of 2030 and 2020 is only a stop along the way. So yes, there is room for growth and there is a great potential for a city like Dubai.
TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What issues will you be focussing on in the coming months?
FADEEL WEHBE: As far as we are concerned, we will continue to work with our team members to ensure that we deliver the service promised, to ensure that our team members are well trained and embrace the service culture so that our guests feel the difference during their stay at a Pullman hotel.
We have started the year well in terms of occupancy and revenues and we aim to close on a high note, too.