Ascott Group enters region with strong expansion plans

Dubai’s Wafi Group continues to expand its hospitality offering with the opening of Singapore-based The Ascott Group’s first Middle East property — Somerset Jadaf, Dubai

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By  Sarah Gain Published  September 4, 2006

Dubai’s Wafi Group continues to expand its hospitality offering with the opening of Singapore-based The Ascott Group’s first Middle East property — Somerset Jadaf, Dubai. The 84-unit serviced residence, located in the Jadaf area, opened in July and marks the brand’s first entry into the Middle East, with expansion plans already outlined for 15 such properties to open across the region. Wafi Group, a multi-industry conglomerate that is currently developing the Raffles Dubai, owns Somerset Jadaf. “Wafi Group has a reputation for innovation and quality in Dubai, and our relationship with The Ascott Group has created another ‘first’, as we introduce the award winning Somerset brand to the Middle East,” said Ian Wiedersheim, managing director of Wafi Group. Regional expansion for The Ascott Group is already planned, according to Liew Mun Leong, deputy chairman, The Ascott Group, who said the group will increase its presence in the Middle East. The opening of Somerset Jadaf, Dubai is part of the company’s expansion plans to have 15 properties by 2010, in the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Explaining the decision to launch from Dubai, Cameron Ong, The Ascott Group’s managing director and CEO added: “We’ve chosen Dubai as the entry point to launch the first property in the Middle East because of the emirate’s strong economic growth, the concentration of key businesses and a relatively limited supply of serviced residences.” “Statistics from Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing show that there are about 20 deluxe hotel apartments in the emirate and the occupancy level is about 80%. This is a clear indication of growth potential for quality accommodation and we believe that there are plenty of opportunities for expansion.”

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