Jumeirah Group cut hundreds of jobs as a slowdown in the emirate’s tourism industry weighs on the operator of Dubai’s sail-shaped Burj Al Arab hotel, according to people familiar with the matter.

The government-owned luxury hotel chain, which manages 24 properties in eight countries, recently shed about 500 jobs, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. Most of the cuts were support roles, they said. Jumeirah has more than 13,500 employees, according to its website.

A spokeswoman for Jumeirah declined to comment.

Dubai’s hotels are struggling as growth in the tourism sector, one of the emirate’s main economic pillars, stalls. Occupancy levels during the second quarter were at their lowest since 2009, while average daily rates and revenue available per room fell to 2003 levels, according to STR, a global hotel data provider. New openings ahead of the 2020 World Expo have also led to oversupply.

Dubai-based companies such as real estate developers and banks are also reducing staff as the emirate grapples with regional geopolitical tensions, relatively low oil prices and an ongoing real estate and retail slump. The government introduced measures to stimulate the economy such as lowering certain business fees and issuing longer-term visas.

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Photo Credit: Burj Al Arab in Dubai, operated by Jumeirah. Ihongchou's photography, Flickr.