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07 July, 2008

Heartbroken Hotels

Dubai hotel occupancy has reportedly plummeted this summer. Which is sad, because as any long-term sandlander knows, the best time in the Gulf is summer. It's a daily wrestling match with the searing white tiger of the Gulf sun amid blanket-thick humidity, while one enjoys the sight of newcomers and tourists wilting and collapsing all around. But the disappointing absence of the latter this year has led Kipp Report to wonder if the emirate has finally been "rumbled"?

"General opinion suggests the situation could be a combination of factors, some external - like the globally depressed economic scenario and higher cost of flights thanks to spiralling oil prices - but there is a nagging suspicion the city has been rumbled: strained infrastructure, choked roads, few transport options, ugly cranes and little to do beyond malls."

And as Kipp notes, Thomson Holidays - the top ranked UK travel agency website - only recommends one destination in the Middle East...



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Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's only one solution. Bring on the easyjet cheapo flights crammed full of baseball cap and purple Kappa tracksuit-wearing chavs to fill the void. They'll soon raise the tone.

Personally I can't think of anywhere worse to spend a hard-earned two-week break than a sweaty, giant building site dotted with Legoland shopping malls. Surely you'd have to minus all your marbles to even contemplate it?

07 July, 2008 14:52  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well, if its true, I would be glad (though secretly) because it may actually bring some really needed 'sense' back to sandland. Maybe some of the high flyers (read spoilt brats) crashing to ground and some relief to the stretched sandlanders from spiralling prices and chaotic traffic... Maybe ?! Maybe !!

07 July, 2008 16:29  
Blogger littlejimmy said...

Little to do besides malls.

Spot on.

07 July, 2008 16:32  
Blogger Kyle said...

The Kipp Report don’t need to wonder about strained infrastructure, choked roads, few transport options, ugly cranes and little to do beyond malls.

It’s a fact.

Having said that, who the hell wants to remain holed up in a hotel all the time, governed by artificial weather?

So, you take away all these elements, there’s absolutely nothing worth a plane trip for the average tourist, at least for now.

Maybe when they have all those projects up and running in Abu-Dhabi, it’ll be a different ball game. However, it’s eventually linked to the political scenario in this region.

08 July, 2008 08:37  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I laughted out load about the recommended destinations in Middle East... come one Isreal already suffers & it is only recommended for jews aka kikes :)

08 July, 2008 11:25  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome to reality. I kinda miss the Old Dubai, before all the madness and the Greed.

08 July, 2008 13:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

here cometh the revolution of the plebians in UAE...!!!

UAE arrests 3,000 Indian workers for rioting. Times Of India.
8 Jul 2008, 0035 hrs IST, Daniel P George,TNN
CHENNAI: Nearly 3,000 Indian workers have been detained at an undisclosed location on the outskirts of the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi, on charges of rioting. ( Watch )

The workers - from Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Kerala - of a large ceramics manufacturing unit in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah were rounded up by security agencies after they went on a rampage at their labour camp on Friday night to protest against the poor quality of food being served to them.

Indian ambassador to the UAE, Talmiz Ahmed, confirmed on phone that employees of RAK Ceramics indulged in arson by burning vehicles and destroying furniture and are now under arrest.

Although not all of the nearly 3,000 workers were involved in the fracas, the police took all of them to Abu Dhabi and Dubai in army vehicles.

According to Rateesh, an eyewitness, the workers beat up the camp-in-charge, smashed windows and destroyed canteen furniture. Not content, they then came out and set at least two parked vehicles on fire. A few of them were even injured in the melee.

08 July, 2008 15:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well as the sandlanders used to say to complainers, " get out if you dont like"! Tourists obviously had a choice, and took the advice to heart.

It is a well known thing among marketeers, you can only oversell any brand through lies for so long...sooner or later after one experience cycle it will come to an end. and word of mouth will do the rest. cest la vie Dubai!

08 July, 2008 15:21  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

they've ruined the beaches and turned the country into a tacky shopping centre - so much for sheikh Mohammed's grand vision.
the highest and the biggest doesnt always mean the best.

IMHO oman has better beaches, better scenery. nicer locals and real heritage

08 July, 2008 22:06  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One supposes that the legion new hotels in the pipeline might struggle once open. Perhaps the workforce of RAK ceramics can be taken to live at AlBawady (29200 extra hotel rooms by 2016 )Some mistake surely?

09 July, 2008 11:03  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The National has a great article on this today. Click here

09 July, 2008 11:06  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quite a sight on the Emirates road on Saturday morning - two police water cannon, lorries with razor wire, riot vehicles, and all three carriageways blocked by police cars as they escorted dozens of buses packed with labourers - strange it barely got a mention in the local press......

10 July, 2008 00:12  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dubai PR machine just reacted to this blog:
All is well in Paradise.

10 July, 2008 08:42  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does that explain why there is an excess of 5-star hotels who are housing prostitutes (with discounts)?

Rotana Towers being one (insider information).

10 July, 2008 16:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We've had a spate of guest over the past few weeks of different backgrounds and all agree it's a weird ghost town, building erratically for a tiny population with stock standard overpriced shopping malls and some very unfavorable night spots. One couple were so bored on the 4th day of a 5 day stopover they stayed indoors in their hotel waiting for their departure for their real holiday to start in Europe.

10 July, 2008 16:56  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this seems fabricated for political purposes. where is the evidence (reliable sources? yah huh)

why has dubai official taken over singapore this year as a travel hub with a packed out airport hub? including stopovers? something is clearly not adding up...

10 July, 2008 17:06  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Little to do besides malls.

It's taken a decade and a half to figure that out? LOL!

11 July, 2008 14:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dubai is a cultural dead zone, its only attractive feature used to be its beaches, miles and miles of golden sandy solitude - but shaikh mohammed has ruined it all with his ghastly and greedy vision.

if you want sunshine and shopping there are a hundred nicer places where you can kiss your girlfriend in public.

12 July, 2008 10:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 17:06 July 10:- How do you know that Dubai has overtaken Singapore in these ways?? Because the Govt of Dubai says so with the normal BS announcements in the newspapers?? Because of the amount of people you see sleeping in the airports?? Because of the newspaper articles you read?? I guess you believe the article about the 2 drunks in a bar raising the security alert as well????

14 July, 2008 14:34  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what is there to do in any meditaranian destination other than, erm, beach? atleast dubai has malls...tbh, i dont understand how any european tourist would come to dubai in summer, the reason why last summer was popular was because there was so much hype about dubai, people wanted to find out about it, so they came in summer, now people are aware its a bit too hot, winter will be fine, as it always is! dubai may be a bit boring with just beaches and malls and booze, but a lot of people like that, not everyone wants culture

14 July, 2008 18:39  
Blogger Susan said...

Why Israel? If they want a culturally-devoid trip to a mini-America, why not go to America? That's a shame, since I think places like Egypt are well-worth a trip to the region. I've never seen much point in tourists visiting the Gulf unless they were breaking their journey to places in SE Asia or Oz.

15 July, 2008 19:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not everyone wants culture? Yeah, but even the most ignorant holiday maker is instantly made aware of the lacking location when plonking himself on a fake beach, alongside a reclaimed island, with virtually no typical tourists or any redeeming places of interest. There's only so many malls and soulless restaurants one can entertain themselves with.

15 July, 2008 22:54  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"not everyone wants culture"

Europeans might not be looking for high culture, but they definitely
require personal freedoms, which are absent in that tight arsed artificial little sand pit. And Europeans certainly don't want to be constantly looking over their
shoulders, worrying about whether they're "offending Islamic traditions," by say, showing a bit of tit on the beach.

16 July, 2008 10:03  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

because the aviation industry SAYS Dubai has overtaken Changi...gosh what an idiot,,23594218-23349,00.html%3Ffrom%3Dpublic_rss

thankfully the sort of europeans who require those kinds of freedoms (also known as chavs) will refrain from coming to dubai. HOORAY!

16 July, 2008 15:47  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

as if the arabs know how to make out the difference between chavs and non chavs. white is might, and so it will remain for you guys. and to the idiot who compared dubai to mediterranian islands, you need to get your head checked, probably spent too much time in the sun. guess natural beauty of the mediterranian is something you think dubai has in a few concrete towers and beaches filled with concrete shit.

as for the changi guy, nobody in the world gives a shit if dubai had more slaves passing thru the airport, other than your number spin obsessed PR dept. for a change show some quality, not quantity

16 July, 2008 22:39  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

acctually, if you want to see just how many people are coming to dubai, you just need to check the number of long haul airlines, i work in the aviation industry, and with the number of airlines flying to dubai, over 100, there are a lot of tourist coming here, regardless of the fact that dubai has no natural beauty, or it has loads of malls, people still want to come, there are a lot of people jealous of dubai, its jus a city guys, get over it seriously. You can bullshit all you want, but just because such an unreliable source says two hotels have had bad June occupancy rates, everyone starts talking about the end of dubai? seriously guys get a grip, no one wants to stay in a city hotel in the summer, im sure if you checked occupancy rates for any beach hotel, you would find them sky high! To the idiot who said the meditaranian islands have natural beauty, Zante has natural beauty? all you see is vomit in ths streets, chavs , people having sex everywhere? stop immagining the med as this amazing place with beaches and green everywhere cos its not, most of it is even more polluted than dubai!!!

17 July, 2008 22:03  
Blogger Frank Partisan said...

Beirut used to be the tourist mecca, in the Middle East.

20 July, 2008 09:29  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beirut had everything that Dubai now has, but was closer to Europe. Had Casino, and more pleasant climate. If Iran and the US decide to go after each others, then Dubai will truly be the next Beirut.

20 July, 2008 11:16  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to idiot @ 17th july 22:03

zante must be the only one your free ticket took you to...try some of the below.

Tenerife, Canary Islands
Tenerife is a favorite retreat for Brits and Europeans who flock to the man made and natural black sand volcanic beaches that dominate the Canaries.

Corfu, Greece
Corfu's sandy bays and rocky coves frequented by yachties and vacationers searching for the perfect Mediterranean island.

Corsica, France
More than 600 miles of Italian speaking coastline, rocky coves, turquoise waters, great food, and a sexy, flashy, French atmosphere make Napoleon's birthplace one of Europe's best vacation retreats.

Dubrovnik, Croatia
The Pearl of the Adriatic is one of the most charming beach resorts that you probably have never heard of. Classic European ambiance without the high prices.

Sardinia, Italy
The orange-pink granite Costa Smeralda is lined with the villas of the rich and famous while inshore passages are as calm as the water is blue.

Costa del Sol, Spain
From Marbella to Gibralter, this stretch of warm water and white sand is overdeveloped, but still on of the country's best retreats for a classy Mediterranean getaway.

Ibiza, Spain
This Balearic Island is Europe's answer to Spring Break, but year round. With cheap flights from across the continent and hordes of young people indulging in sun, sex, and alcohol. Try tiny Minorca for more relaxation.

Terracina, Italy
Just south of Rome sits the Italian mainland's best beach. It has a fun beach vibe with lots of bars and restaurants and tiny B&B's.

Algarve, Portugal
Portugal's southernmost region was once filled with sleepy fishing villages, but has since come alive at beaches such as Lagos, Faro, Odemira, Cove, and Vila Nova De Milfontes.

Cannes, France
This resort on the Côte d'Azur has miles of sandy beaches and once a year plays host to the Hollywood Crowd for the Cannes Film Festival. Nearby nice attracts more visitors and has larger beaches, but little Cannes still wins the gold medal

21 July, 2008 13:46  
Blogger jubmaan said...

beirut used to be the tourist hotspot, in the Middle East. yeah used to be.. beside the the Lebanses love to ape westners in every way, have worse reputation than uae locals when it comes to dealing with foriginers of color.
they have an underground prison for runaway least they have oil in the uae. to live the high life what do these leventine cunts have ,women to please shieks ,
does one really want go poor mans spain

25 July, 2008 13:21  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only good reason for the yanks to start bombing Iran is that Dubai would be finished in an instance.

At the moment the only way Dubai maintains ANY profile is by spouting lies and by bullying agents, journalists, tour operators et al.

I know of one large UK guidebook publisher who were told by the tourist board that if they didn't change a few lines in their Dubai guide that were critical of the place, their entire line of books would be prevented from appearing in Dubai book shops.

I know of one very senior UK pr person who used to be an account director in London for major Dubai hotels and other tourist facilities. She can barely mention the place without either spitting blood or pissing herself laughing.

Let's face it Dubai is a nasty mix of tacky hotels, bad food, no culture, terrible weather, awful exploitation and environmental catastrophe.

Anyone who tries to tell you different is either lying, bought off or scared of the authorities/losing their job.

28 July, 2008 17:45  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


:-D Good one ;)

31 July, 2008 13:49  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I totally disagree with most of these comments. I have been to Dubai twice in the last few years. You should know before booking that yes, there are lots of shopping malls. Which most people are grateful of in the intense heat! I travelled with a small website and stayed in the amaznig Jumeirah Beach hotel. This was a great way to see the city both the new and old bits. The hotel had a free transfer service for guests which we found really convenient.

It's not the best choice for everyone, especially if you are used to a week on the Costa del Sol so research before you travel and you are sure to enjoy!

11 August, 2008 19:57  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Old bits of Dubai? Where are they?

And why travel all that way to stay in a air-con shopping centre?

14 August, 2008 16:32  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dubai is nothing more than a real estate casino for Sheikh Mo and his cohorts. The hype worked for a while, but now the word is spreading that there is NOTHING to do in Dubai. Even the shopping sucks...overpriced, stuffy malls where you can't even find parking. Europeans are better of going to the US if they want to shop, where they can take advantage of the Euro/Dollar rate and the already great bargains in the US (which they are already doing). And while they are at it, they can go to the awesome beaches of Florida and California.

I live in this hill hole and it is true, all the beaches have been ruined by Sheikh Mo's greed and much for his "vision".

Is it any wonder that hotels are seeing less business? You ain't seen nothing yet, the shit will hit the fan pretty soon.


16 August, 2008 12:28  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

General opinion suggests the situation could be a combination of factors, some external - like the globally depressed economic scenario and higher cost of flights thanks to spiralling oil prices - but there is a nagging suspicion the city has been rumbled: strained infrastructure, choked roads, few transport options, ugly cranes and little to do beyond malls.

Travel agents would add greedy hotels to the litany: when the sun shone brightly on Dubai three, even two years ago, most hotels happily raked in as much as they could with four-star properties increasing rates to an extortionate Dh800-1,200.

This year, the city finds itself excluded from brochures of leading European travel agents, who would rather sell holidays to Sri Lanka, Thailand or other exotic destination that, one assumes, offer more by way of enriching experiences at lower prices. Ironically, Thomson Holidays, Europe's leading travel agency now recommends Israel as the only destination worth visiting under 'Middle East'.


07 October, 2008 02:18  
Anonymous joye said...

this is a fact when money overflows it corrupts the whole system.Dubai is no any exception of that

13 March, 2010 13:41  

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