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Dubai Courts High-End Hotels by Reducing Regulatory Red Tape

Jan 21, 2014 5:00 am

Skift Take

Dubai is looking to make significant gains in tourist arrivals in 6 years so the new regulations are as much about attracting high-end hotels as having them be built in time.

— Samantha Shankman

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Kevin Botto  / Flickr

The Burj Dubai in the background from the grounds of The Palace Hotel in Dubai. Kevin Botto / Flickr


As Dubai prepares to welcome 20 million annual visitors by 2020, the emirate has announced a number of new regulations that will reduce the hotel construction pre-approval process to two months. Dubai also announced a range of attractive offers for three- and four-star hotels.

In response to recommendations raised by Dubai’s private sector developers, Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has issued a series of directives to further stimulate the hotel investment and development sector.

According to the directives, hotel construction pre-approval process period will be reduced to two months. Currently the approval process for private developers ranges from three to six months. A single streamlined system will be managed by Dubai Municipality to help reduce red tape for businesses and ensure the new reduced approval timeframes are met.

In addition, approval processes of planning permission for all hotel establishments in Dubai to be standardized through Dubai Municipality. Currently some free zones manage their own building regulation approval processes for hotels in areas across Dubai.

The Dubai ruler also declared a range of incentives for the three- and four-star hotel market, which includes the allocation of government land at favorable rates and an exemption from change-of-use charges. Dubai Municipality and government-linked master developers will work with Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) to identify key locations for hotels at favorable investment terms.

Additional incentives to help ensure the development of three- and four-star hotels include establishment of a special committee to review the rezoning of plots, an additional year of exemption of the 10 percent Dubai Municipality fee for any three- and four-star hotels, which begin operating before June 2017.

Sources added that the expansion of the exemption from the 10 percent Dubai Municipality fee, from the previously announced four years to five years will attract a number of three-four star hotel investors to the emirate.

The directives were made in response to recommendations raised by Dubai’s private sector developers during a recent consultation workshop organized and hosted by DTCM and Dubai Municipality, and attended by representatives of key investors in the hospitality sector, including Al Habtoor Group, Al Futtaim Group, Al Ghurair Group, Rotana Group, Dubai Holding and Emaar.

“Dubai Municipality is fully committed to working with government partners and with investors to ensure that we deliver on Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s directives and on his long term strategic vision,” said Hussain Lootah, director general of Dubai Municipality.

“In partnership with public and private sectors, we will identify opportunities for streamlining in the hotel development sector, and work together to address them. Our aim is to continue Dubai’s journey to further progress from our position as the region’s leading tourism and business destination to being recognized as a global leader in trade and tourism,” he added.

“Sheikh Mohammed’s directives offer new and exciting opportunities for hotel investors. They will act as a stimulus to the sector and help to broaden our current accommodation offering, particularly within the three- and four-star segment, which is needed to meet the targets outlined in the Dubai Tourism Vision for 2020,” said Helal Saeed Almarri, director general of DTCM.

(c)2014 the Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia). Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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