Gerald Lawless told Reuters in an interview he is hopeful of a recovery in Jumeirah’s home market towards the end of the year following a 20% drop in first-quarter room revenue.
Lawless said he was still ‘optimistic’ its Shanghai project would come together if not by the year end, then at least before the World Expo, an international exhibition set to begin in the city in May 2010.
The group, owned by the ruler of Dubai, missed its original target to open the 338-room Jumeirah Han Tang Xintiandi Hotel in Shanghai, China’s financial hub, in late 2008 and in January pushed it back to later this year.
The luxury hotelier, famous for managing the sail-shaped Burj al-Arab hotel in Dubai, and its rivals have suffered as demand dwindles with many multinational companies forced to tighten their belts, hitting the hotel, travel and property industries hard.
Dubai, one of seven emirates in the UAE federation, gets 19 percent of gross domestic product from tourism and its economy stands to suffer as fewer people take holidays during the global downturn and retail sales and trade flows decline.
The Guardian reported that in recent weeks, chief executives from other hotel companies including Marriott International and Starwood Hotels & Resorts said they have seen demand begin to stabilise.