Dubai’s Ruler Issues New Hotel Law

The new decree lays down regulations for the licensing and classifying of hotel establishments in Dubai.



Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has issued a new decree to regulate the licensing and classification of hotel establishments in the emirate, it was announced.

The new rule states that the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) is the official body that has been entrusted with the task of licensing and classifying hotels in the city.

The decree will be effective after three months of the date of its publication in the Official Gazette.

As part of the ruling, DTCM has already announced a new system called the ‘Hotel Classification Scheme’ to provide clarity about the type and quality of hotel rooms and accommodation available across the emirate and the services provided by them.

The system is based on a multi-layered framework including ratings – one to five star, categories such as hotel, resort and guest house, and designators such as beach, airport, family, desert etc.

“Our current system of classification dates back to 1998 and requires updating due to the vast growth of the hotel and hospitality sector in Dubai in the past 15 years,” said Helal AlMarri, director general of DTCM.

“By adopting a multi-tiered framework of ratings, categories and designators, clearer choice will be provided to visitors. At the same time, new marketing opportunities are provided to hotels,” he added.

Although the new classification system had a soft launch last year, Al Marri assured that there would be no instant assessment.

“A grace period of one year has been allowed for in order to give the management of existing hotel establishments the time to alter their offer to match the rating, category and designators that they want to achieve,” he said.

Dubai currently boasts over 60,000 operational hotel rooms, according to CBRE, accounting for the majority of the 95,000 rooms in the UAE. Hotels in the emirate posted the best performance of any Middle East city with average occupancy rates of 76 per cent during 2012.

The city also recently announced its Tourism Vision 2020 as part of which it aims to attract 20 million annual visitors by 2020, up from 10.16 million visitors in 2012. To achieve that target, it aims to increase hotels rooms in the emirate to 150,000.