Jumeirah Group to open 20 hotels by 2018

Dubai's Jumeirah Group revealed plans to nearly double its hotel portfolio over the next three years. Reuters reported that the company's president, Gerald Lawless, is not fazed by geopolitical tensions in Ukraine and the economic uncertainty coursing through Europe and China, and is looking into adding 20 hotels to its portfolio by 2018.

The Group's hotels in Dubai are operating at 80 percent or higher occupancy, and account for the majority of its revenue. Jumeirah currently has 22 hotels in its portfolio, including managed properties, in markets such as the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, China, Britain and Italy. 

The company is currently planning two hotel openings in 2015, and then 20 more by 2018. Currently, a Jumeirah property is in the works for St. Petersburg, and another hotel is being considered for Moscow. According to Emirates 24/7, the link between Dubai-based Jumeirah and Russia can be found in increased Russian tourist volume to Dubai in recent years

Russia's economy is forecasted to shirring as a result of falling oil prices and Western sanctions due to the Ukraine crisis. Lawless said in a release that, despite economic trouble, Jumeirah has not recorded a significant drop in Russian visitor numbers, chalking it up to wealthier Russians who are as of yet unaffected by the decline of the ruble.

Jumeirah's portfolio expansion through 2018 is already ramping up in its home country. Last week the company signed a management agreement with property developer Meeras Holding for its first new lifestyle hotel brand, Venu, which will open in Dubai in 2017. The 300-room Venu Bluewaters Island Hotel will be operated under the Venu Living brand.