Kempinski hotel boss aiming for return to pre-Covid levels in Q4

Slim Zaiane, general manager of Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates, warned a ‘complete recovery’ in the industry is still some time away

Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates is one of the oldest five-star/luxury hotels in Dubai.

Dubai’s iconic Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates is hoping to edge closer to 2019 occupancy levels in the fourth quarter of this year, according to general manager Slim Zaiane.

Zaiane said demand was being fuelled by Expo 2020 Dubai, but warned an overall recovery in the hotel industry, back to pre-Covid levels, would not be witnessed until 2023.

He told Arabian Business: “We are aiming to target occupancy somewhat close to pre Covid levels in Q4 with Expo 2020 attracting a large number of tourists in the country along with a very exciting busy season ahead of us.”

According to latest research from the UAE-based Global Hotel Alliance (GHA), which studied summer travel behaviour among members based in the UAE, 92 percent took a staycation from June to September 2021, compared to just 68 percent during the same period in 2019.

Zaiane said: “Although, the hospitality sector was heavily affected by the pandemic we are feeling positive with an action-packed season ahead of us. With the ease in restrictions and travel and Expo 2020, we are focusing on leading the way in seeking new travel and leisure experience.

Slim Zaiane, general manager of Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates.

“Another one of our main focuses is staycation and daycation packages. This has served as a key initiative to drive demand and offer Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates a path to recovery. We are expecting a full recovery to go back to 2019 level not before 2023.”

UAE hotels hit 62 percent occupancy in the first six months of 2021 as the tourism sector continued to rebound from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nearly 8.3 million guests visited the UAE’s hotels and tourism establishments in the first six months of the year, a 15 percent growth compared to the first half of 2020.

“We have been receiving a lot of interest from international and regional travelers including requests from Russia, Europe, India and GCC countries, and are aiming to host several nationalities with Expo 2020 in full swing,” said Zaiane.

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