Essential news from around the world…
Dubai is booming
Dubai has seen tourist figures almost double in the last year, according to tour operators. Since World Travel Market 2004 and the growth of direct flights to the area, visitors have doubled and are predicted to quadruple to 15 million by 2010. More than 322,000 Britons visited Dubai in the first half of 2005 and UK visitors also appear to be spending more, by booking higher-standard hotel rooms.
Designer ‘brands' Dubai hotel
Iconic designer Giorgio Armani has signed a $1b (£566m) agreement to set up a new hotel chain under his fashion label in a joint venture with Dubai's Emaar Properties. The first hotels are scheduled to open by 2008 in Dubai and Milan. The properties will feature Armani-brand furnishings and amenities from the designer's homewares business.
Shangri-La goes to Macau
Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts has announced a management agreement with developer Venetian Cotai to operate two of its Macau hotels. The 500-bedroom Shangri-La hotel and 1,000-bedroom Traders hotel will be located on the Cotai Strip - dubbed "Asia's Las Vegas" - and are due to open in 2008.
Leela Palaces' founder honoured Captain Krishnan Nair, chairman of Indian hotel group Leela Palaces and Resorts, has received a Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to the tourism industry from the American Academy of Hospitality Services. Nair, who named the company after his wife, is the first Indian to receive this award. It was presented at a ceremony at the Kanakaunnu Palace on 22 October.
Stein Group expands
The Stein Group has bought the Villa Mangiacane in Tuscany and Hotel Rodina by the Black Sea in Russia. Villa Mangiacane will remain open, but the 42-bedroom Hotel Rodina will close temporarily for extensive refurbishment and is due to re-open in May 2006. Plans include adding two restaurants, a piano bar, private cinema, cigar room and helicopter pad. The two hotels bring the group's portfolio to 16 in Europe.
Abu Dhabi opens first boutique hotel
The five-star Al Raha Beach Hotel in Abu Dhabi officially opened last week. Managed by Danat Hotels & Resorts, the 109-bedroom hotel is the city's first boutique hotel. Danat is a division of part-governmental organisation the National Corporation for Tourism and Hotels, which manages two five-star resorts and a selection of four-star properties in the emirate.
Mandarin Oriental opens in Tokyo
The Mandarin Oriental hotel in Tokyo officially opened on 2 December. It is the group's first property in Japan. The 179-bedroom hotel is located on the top nine floors of the new Nihonbashi Mitsui Tower. Japan is the seventeenth country in which the 23-strong group now operates 23 hotels.
Fairmont expands into South Africa Fairmont Hotels and Resorts has announced a $250m (£141m) luxury resort in Zimbali, South Africa. The development, a joint venture between Fairmont and IFA Hotels and Resorts will include a championship golf course, spa and timeshare properties. The hotel is expected to open in 2008.
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