Emirates Group and wasl Group Renew Contract with Starwood Hotels & Resorts
HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum: Tourism sector is pivotal in our comprehensive corporate strategy
Dubai, UAE-10 January 2011 - Emirates Group and wasl Asset Management Group have announced they will be extending the operation and management agreement with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide for Le Méridien Al Aqah Beach Resort owned by the Emirates Group. In addition, wasl Hospitality has renewed its operational agreement with its fully owned properties; Le Meridien Dubai, Le Meridien Mina Seyahi, Le Meridien Fairway and the Westin Dubai until 2025.
The agreement was signed by HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Dubai Airports, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group, and Chairman of the Advisory Council of wasl Hospitality, HE Hesham Abdullah Al Qassim, CEO of wasl Asset Management Group on behalf of wasl Group, and Mr. Frits Van Paasschen, President and Chief Executive Officer of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
The signing ceremony was held at Le Meridien Dubai and was attended by a large group of dignitaries from the tourism community in the emirate, as well as special guests.
Speaking on the occasion, HH Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum said: “The tourism industry has played a key role in positioning Dubai and the UAE on the global map. This partnership with Starwood Hotels & Resorts brings a wealth of global presence and experience to the hotels in this region; Starwood’s extensive network and renowned brand management will add immense value to these properties.”
HE Hesham Abdullah Al Qassim hailed the strategic initiatives launched by the Dubai Government with the aim of further developing the emirate’s tourism sector, as well as the future visions and plans for the sector. He added that wasl has a strong presence in Dubai’s hospitality sector through its fully owned subsidiary, wasl Hospitality.
wasl’s portfolio comprises seven hotels with more than 2200 rooms, through which wasl Hospitality delivers an unprecedented experience to businessmen, tourists and visitors. wasl’s portfolio includes four hotels under Starwood Hotels and Resorts –Le Meridien Dubai, Le Meridien Mina Seyahi, Le Meridien Fairway and The Westin Dubai and three hotels under the Hyatt Group – Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Regency and Park Hyatt –in addition to entertainment facilities such as Grand Cineplex.
Al Qassim clarified that wasl Hospitality is always striving to conduct research and studies on this sector, the results of which show great opportunities for further expansion as well as service excellence on the local, regional and international levels. He added that wasl Hospitality will continue efforts to develop its business in the vibrant tourism sector. “Our involvement in this sector is pivotal in our comprehensive corporate strategy, and our keenness is consistent with Dubai’s vision for sustainable and diversified growth.”
He added: “wasl plans to develop state of the art entertainment projects and seeks to increase the number of hotels within its portfolio.”
Al Qassim stressed the importance of tourism, saying that the sector has become one of the cornerstones of Dubai’s economy and pointing out that the sector’s tremendous growth has encouraged a large part of real estate investment to be directed to the hospitality and tourism industry in order to serve the emirate’s vision of becoming a world class tourism destination. In addition, he said, this growth is adding more momentum to the emirate’s economy, in general, and the tourism sector, in particular.
In conclusion Al Qassim praised the emirate’s ongoing involvement as a host for an increasing number of regional and international events, stating that such activities play an important role in activating the economy, restoring investor confidence, and increasing the emirate’s competitiveness.
“Activities such as the Dubai Summer Festival, which increased hotel occupancy rates by 15% and generated over $150 million in retail revenues during 2010, can help the economy recover as it stimulates the tourism and service sectors. It will certainly be positively reflected in the financial performance of a number of associated activities too,” he said.
"Starwood is focused on growing and maintaining our footprint by working with the right partners in the right locations, and today's signing with wasl Asset Management Group and Emirates Group is absolutely illustrative of this," said Mr. Frits Van Paasschen, President and CEO of Starwood. "We value our competitive advantage in the Middle East and this region is a priority for Starwood moving forward as we look to grow with our partners."
For further information, please visit the website: www.wasl.ae
Samar Abu Hantash
PO Box: 73310 Dubai – UAE
Tel: +971 4 3298996 Fax: +971 4 3298995
Mob: +971 50 1540 727
Web Site: www.saharagcc.com
Notes to media about Emirates
Dubai-based Emirates Airline, one of the fastest growing airlines in the world, has received more than 400 international awards for excellence. Emirates now flies to 109 destinations in 65 countries in Europe, North America, South America, the Middle East, Africa, the Indian subcontinent and Asia-Pacific. Emirates operates 152 wide-body Airbus and Boeing aircraft, with a fleet that is among the youngest in the skies, with an average age of 69 months. With orders for an additional 201 aircraft, worth more than USD$59 billion, Emirates is on track to become one of the largest airlines in the world. The airline reported a net profit of USD$964 million for the last fiscal year. For more information please visit www.emirates.com.
wasl LLC, an asset management group, was established by Dubai Real Estate Corporation (DREC) to manage its operations. The group currently encompasses three subsidiaries including wasl Properties, wasl Hospitality and Dubai Golf to oversee its operations in the real estate and business sectors.
Set up to strengthen Dubai's success and to actively secure its growth objectives for the future, wasl pursues a vision 'to value and be valued by our stakeholders'. It aims to achieve this by creating a legacy of trust and respect, by acting responsibly, and as a platform for innovation in asset management.
wasl Properties represents wasl's core business activity. It manages the group's extensive residential and commercial asset portfolio of over 25,000 units within the emirate of Dubai by providing a full range of property management, facilities management and call centre operations as well as tenant management.
wasl Hospitality's portfolio comprises seven hotels with over 1,200 rooms managed by Starwoods and the Hyatt Group and is specialized in delivering unprecedented experience to businessmen, tourists and visitors. Dubai Golf, another leisure subsidiary under the wasl umbrella, manages the UAE's two leading golf destinations - Emirates Golf Club and Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club. Together, these golf clubs boast three championship golf courses including the Majlis (venue for the annual Dubai Desert Classic) and Faldo courses at Emirates Golf Club and the Dubai Creek golf course, in addition to golf academies, a marina, nine internationally renowned restaurants and a host of recreational facilities.
The word 'wasl', which means 'connection' in Arabic, is symbolic of the strong relationship the group shares with its stakeholders and represents its profound link to the past, present stature and vision for the future.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with 1025 properties in 100 countries and territories with 145,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood Hotels is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, W®, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Sheraton®, Four Points® by Sheraton, and the recently launched Aloft®, and Element SM. Starwood Hotels also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts. For more information, please visit www.starwoodhotels.com.