In a recently released video interview, the CEO of Le Meridien in Fujairah, Patrick Antaki, says that his hotel is principally a place where international tourists can ‘chill out’. He says they come to be pampered, to enjoy the quietness with no vigorous excursions or energetic activities.
Antaki states that he and his team have worked hard to corner the European market. The Brits usually come for an average of 5-7 nights, the Germans come for 7-10 nights and the significant Russian contingent for 7-14 nights [does this mean that the Germans take longer to be pampered and the Russians require a longer period for chilling to the extreme?]
One might think that the Europeans come less to chill out than to warm up by lolling around on the Al Aqah beach or sipping vodka by one of the pools.
There is nothing wrong with a holiday to chill out but Antaki’s survey of his customers has important implications for Fujairah tourism. It appears that the majority of international tourists to Fujairah never come to the city of Fujairah. Instead they are whisked away from the Dubai International Airport and after 45 minutes they are at the entrance of Le Meridien or one of the neighboring hotels (Antaki has some comment to make about the Al Aqah hotel cluster).
To be successful, the leaders of tourism on the UAE east coast need to create and showcase some relaxing and stimulating half-day trips. If things were packaged and presented well a trip (by boat and 4WD) with an environmental theme to the Kalba ecological wetlands, a sorti to the Fujairah museum, fort and an archaeological dig or an excursion to the wadis and farms nestled in the Hajars might be just the thing to tantalize the hoards blobbing out around the Al Aqah beach and bars.
The new video interview with some footage of Le Meredien and the emirate of Fujairah can be seen at this link, courtesy of AME Info:
Fujairah: a Growing Tourist Destination
Dr Geoff Pound
Image: A Fujairah blogger chilling out at Le Meridien, Al Aqah.