From Ain Dubai to the Red Sea, Travel Brands Jostle to Find Their Groove in a Booming Market
By Yeoh Siew Hoon
Saturday, 20th April 2019

On the morning after WiT Middle East ended, I went for a walk across from Jumeirah Beach to Bluewaters Island, a new development that boasts 132 shops and restaurants, Caesars Palace Hotel and the 210m Ain Dubai, touted as the world’s largest observation wheel.

For those of you familiar with Dubai, you’ll know this is the land of superlatives so now, add Ain Dubai to the list.

Ain Dubai, at 210m, is touted as the world’s largest observation wheel

Dubai always leaves me awestruck. Decades ago, when they first started building here, everyone wondered how they’d ever fill up all the hotel rooms, apartments, villas, private islands, luxury villas, shopping malls – but fill up, they have. The crash of 2008 feels like a distant memory. Okay, some areas are less lit than others but talk a walk around the Dubai Marina, and it’s a bustling area, teeming with tourists and residents.

Somehow Dubai makes the unnecessary necessary and the impossible possible.

And they haven’t stopped building. In anticipation of World Expo 2020, more room supply is coming on in Dubai. According to STR Global, which presented at AHIC (Arabian Hotel Investment Conference in Ras Al Khaimah) the next day, a total of 23,444 rooms will open in 2019, followed by another 22,815 in 2020 and 11,299 in 2021.

Hotel occupancies are holding up at the moment but ADR is under pressure, and rate parity, if it ever existed, will be like a mirage in the desert.

Here are the key takeaways from WiT Middle East 2019.

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