The Meydan is Dubai’s new sporting and business hub, and the home of Dubai World Cup, the world’s richest and most glamorous horse race. In the build up to Arabian Travel Market, BTN caught up with Craig Senior, Regional Director of Sales & Marketing, Meydan Hotels & Hospitality.
BTN: What are your expectations and participation at this year’s ATM?
CS: This will be the first year that we will be present at ATM under our newly established hotel brand, Meydan Hotels so this will be a very important and exciting show for us.
As Meydan Hotels we will be exhibiting as part of the Dubai destination stand, which is managed by the DTCM. We are looking forward to a busy and productive show ahead. ATM is probably the most important trade event on our annual calendar given the fact that it is hosted on home ground and the main feeder markets for us are the GCC and the wider Middle East region.
(The Presidential Suite, Meydan Hotel)
BTN: Meydan is Dubai’s hottest new business, sporting and lifestyle destination. Can you tell us a bit more about the development?
CS: From the very early concept stages of the Meydan development, our objective was to address the demand in this market for a new events venue that could cater to every type of business need from small to medium business meetings, conferences and product launches, to the largest events including major conferences, congresses, exhibitions, concerts and festivals.
Meydan was custom-built to offer the perfect mix of five- star hotel tailored to the international business travel market needs, alongside a flexible, multi-functional and contemporary exhibition, event and conference venue with multiple breakout areas and fantastic outdoor space for activities and entertainment.
Our business development strategy is to seek out and partner with clients seeking a new and unique experience in stunning, prestigious surroundings. We’re not limited by scale – so whether it is an intimate group, or a larger event that may take over the entire complex exclusively, Meydan offers an unbeatable level of flexibility, comfort and innovation with the goal of enhancing the experience for both the organiser and their guests.
BTN: What is the timeline for completion of the whole development?
CS: The tennis academy and golf course are scheduled to open in September 2011, while investment in related areas sees a business park and housing development also in construction. The vision of Meydan extends to multiple business centres and leisure developments with waterways linking the Dubai Creek to the Meydan Marina.
BTN: What are your short and long term goals?
CS: We have just concluded our first year of operations for the Meydan Hotel and we are very pleased with the results and the feedback we have received from our guests so far. March is always an important and exciting month for us, with the finale of the racing carnival and the richest horse race in the world, the Dubai World Cup, which took place this year on March 26.
(Abdin Nasralla, VP, The Meydan is interviewed by BTN at ITB 2011)
The hotel has proven to be very popular with both the independent and group traveller and we have received very positive feedback from our guests since the opening of the hotel last year. We have been very fortunate to having been the host for a number of very high profile events at the hotel during our first year in operation, which has truly set the standards and benchmark for the hotel.
BTN: What are some of the key growth areas in the Middle East for 2011-12? What opportunities will these create for potential investors?
CS: The main feeder markets for our properties are Europe and the GCC. We will enhance our sales activities further within the GCC feeder markets and the Indian Sub Continent markets, targeting corporate, group, government and leisure sales.
As the world’s first and only luxury trackside hotel, there is naturally a strong interest from horse-loving nations such as the UAE and the wider Middle East, Western Europe, the United States, Australia, new Zealand, South Africa, Japan, Hong Kong, China and Singapore.
(The Meydan ‘Ladies Floor’ features an entire level dedicated solely to female guests)
What are your predictions for travel and tourism trends in the Middle East over the next decade?
CS: We are confident that 2011 will be a strong year for the tourism and hospitality industry in Dubai and the industry will continue to grow and develop with a number of exciting new properties scheduled to open in the next few years.
The Dubai Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing (DTCM) has been, and continues to be, instrumental in the successful development of Dubai as a premier tourism destination and the cooperation between government and private sector to drive this success is exemplary.
The ultimate travel accolade
Meanwhile Dubai will play host to the inaugural event of the World Travel Awards 2011 Grand Tour. The prestigious awards – known as the ‘Oscars of the travel industry’ – will be hosted at the iconic Armani Hotel on May 2nd. The who’s who of travel and tourism will compete for the ultimate industry accolade. To find out more about the nominees for this year’s event visit World Travel Awards. To find out more about Meydan visit www.meydan.ae.