After doing the groundwork for the Indian market, JA Resorts and Hotels is looking forward to a good season ahead and expects an increase in Indian numbers, especially for their property in the Maldives.
JA Resorts and Hotels are pioneers of hospitality in Dubai, with properties spanning the Indian Ocean in Seychelles and Maldives. Their flagship properties JA Jebel Ali Beach Hotel, located in the JA Jebel Ali Golf Resort, and JA Hatta Fort Hotel have raised the bar in the industry since its inception and continues to provide a unique blend of comfort and casual luxury through its other properties.
On the backdrop of a slightly turbulent 2016, business for the organisation has considerably picked up in the first quarter this year, informs David Thomson, CEO, JA Resorts & Hotels. “It’s been better so far and as business bounces back, we’re continuing to grow as a company. From the Indian market, the growth has been huge, especially for JA Manafaru Maldives where we’ve got a very good response.” Owing to the rising interest shown by Indian travellers, JA Resorts has increased its efforts to tap the market over the past year, adds William Harley-Fleming, Group Business Development Director – JA Resorts & Hotels and General Manager – JA Manafaru, Maldives. “We did a lot of work and took several trips to understand and develop the market which is crucial, because that directs our strategy. We’ve observed that May and June is the big travel period for Indians, so we’re hoping to see an increase this year. We’ve already got a good number of bookings but we appreciate the fact that it’s quite a last-minute market for the Maldives. In addition, we have great chefs at the resort and have hosted a number of food critics so we’re really gearing up for good numbers this year,” he elaborates. The property even has a special Indian menu at one of their restaurants, a move that highlights the importance of the market for the organisation.
However, this wasn’t always the case. Thomson mentions that for long, India was quite an overlooked market with the more prominent ones like Europe and GCC getting the attention. Explaining what changed this perspective, he shares, “We noticed the number of people travelling to Dubai for weddings and this encouraged us to dive deeper and more aggressive into the Indian market. We even hosted a Holi celebration in JA Jebel Ali Golf Resort and Spa Dubai so we’re very flexible with what we do.” Currently, about 70 per cent of the business as a company still comes from tour operators as opposed to direct bookings, reveals Thomson. “For India especially, the country is huge and working with tour operators allows us the reach. It’s a big market so we’re going about it one step at a time to build the business.
“We noticed the number of people travelling to Dubai for weddings and this encouraged us to dive deeper and more aggressive into the Indian market. We even hosted a Holi celebration in JA Jebel Ali Golf Resort and Spa Dubai so we are very flexible with what we do” –David Thomson CEO JA Resorts & Hotels
- JA Resorts’ Maldives property has a special Indian menu at one of their restaurants
- Currently, about 70 per cent of the business for JA Resorts still comes from tour operators as opposed to direct bookings