Saturday, August 27, 2005

UK tourists to Dubai cancel reservations :: 7DAYS


Dozens of UK holidaymakers are understood to have cancelled their trips to Dubai after a documentary showing construction work at Jumeirah Beach Residence. The programme, Package Holidays Uncovered, was screened on British channel ITV earlier this month. The reporter visited the Hilton Jumeirah and highlighted heavy construction work immediately opposite the hotel. It also named the Ritz-Carlton, the Sheraton Jumeirah and the Royal Meridien. “We’ve lost dozens of nights as a direct result of this programme,” said a source at a five star hotel, who asked not to be identified.
. . .
Although frustrating, Elaghoury said the programme was perfectly fair. “It was just a realistic portrayal of what it looks like from the balcony of a hotel,” he said.

But a source at a major hotel slammed the state of the area. “The biggest problem is the litter,” said the source, who asked not to be named. “There’s styrofoam and plastic everywhere, and the road is turning into a dirt track. “It doesn’t exactly set a good first impression to visitors.” The hotels say they have been able to fill most of the rooms with other customers.

Mohammad Abdul Mannan at the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing said the problems were regrettable but necessary as Dubai grows. “Some hotels could have had some difficulty but if you go around the city, you will realise that it is very difficult to get a room even in a five star hotel,” he said.

As the spokesman for Tourism and Commerce Marketing states construction and inconvenience is inevitable with growth. However, Dubai is not world standard when it comes to neatness of construction sites. There is room for improvement commensurate with Dubai's ambitions; a comparison of work sites in Dubai and the other parts of the developed world will show the difference. Further, even if five star hotels have low vacancy rates now, this is not a compelling signal that positive impressions are being formed by visitors. Dubai relies on positive impressions in order to meet its very ambitious growth targets for tourism demand.

UPDATE: Gulf News has an article on Dubai's beautification drive .


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