Jumeirah on the up

Jumeirah Group admits home tourism slump, but vows to recover

Dubai hotel giant Jumeirah Group has said it is hopeful of a recovery in its home tourism market towards the end of 2009 after seeing first quarter revenues fall by 20 percent.

Executive chairman Gerald Lawless said group profits would be down on last year while he described the coming months as "challenging".

He also said the company may not open the first of six hotels planned in China until May 2010, as the project faces another delay amid the global economic crisis.

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.

"Profitability will not be the same as last year, but we're still ahead of our budgets ... the coming months will be challenging," Lawless said.

The group has 14 hotels under construction ranging from Shanghai to Phuket, Thailand and the Maldives as it looks to hit a target of 60 hotels under management by 2012.

It manages 11 hotels for investors - eight in Dubai - and the Carlton Tower in London and Essex House in New York.

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