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JANNAH HOTELS & RESORTS TO EXPAND IN RAS AL KHAIMAH

Jannah ­Hotels & Resorts expects to expand to Ras Al Khaimah this year as it looks to tap into the undersupplied market in the emirate.

The hotel operator expects to manage 100 hotel apartments and 24 villas of three to five bedrooms called the Jannah Resort & Villas in December. The villa prices are marketed at AED3,600 per night. The development is located in Rak Properties’ seafront Mina Al Arab project.

"Ras Al Khaimah is close to Dubai, and we can have packages for people staying in Dubai as well as Ras Al Khaimah: it has an airport, and today it is not an overcrowded or oversupplied market," said Nehme Darwiche, the chief executive of Jannah Hotels and Resorts. "For an investor, now is the perfect time to penetrate the market."

Jannah Hotels & Resorts started in 2013.

At the end of June, Ras Al Khaimah had about 5,332 hotel rooms from 21 properties, with a pipeline of 16 properties accounting for 4,553 rooms until 2022, according to data and analytics company STR.

In 2020, Jannah Hotels & Resorts also expects to open a mixed-use high-rise tower in Sharjah that would include retail space, offices, hotel apartments and a hotel. It would be owned by the Bin Rubayeh Group.

In the next year, it expects to start operating the 152-room, five-star Jannah Creek Dubai property under construction by the Dubai-based conglomerate SS Lootah.

Dubai’s room rates have been falling over the past year as oversupply is putting pressure on profitability.

Through June this year, the average room rate in Dubai’s four and five-star hotels fell 7.8 per cent compared to the same period last year to US$274.5. The average occupancy fell 3 percentage points to 80 per cent during the same period, according to Hotstats data released on Tuesday.

"No one makes an investment for today, we look at five to 10 years [for return on investment]," Mr Darwiche said.

The drop in hotels’ profit­ability also coincided with the drop in global oil prices. In June, the average price of crude was US$45.84 per barrel, compared to $60.21 per barrel last June, according to Statista. The prices, however, are higher than the January low of $26.5 per barrel.

In June, the average room rate in Dubai’s four and five-star hotels fell 9.2 per cent year-on-year to $172.55 from $190, according to Hotstats. The average occupancy fell 16 percentage points to 51 per cent in June from 67 per cent a year earlier.

At the end of June, RAK had about 5,332 hotel rooms from 21 properties, with a pipeline of 16 properties accounting for 4,553 rooms until 2022, according to data and analytics com­pany STR.

Jannah Hotels & Resorts could expand outside the UAE after 2018, with Saudi Arabia and Morocco as ­focus markets.

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