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Wednesday, 09 November, 2016, 12 : 20 PM [IST]

Foraying in India

Disha Shah Ghosh
Untitled Document
JA Manafaru Maldives

The term ‘luxury’ being redefined with a wide variety of experiences for travellers on offer, Dubai-based JA Resorts & Hotels has finally set its eyes on the Indian market to share its concept of ‘heartfelt hospitality and casual luxury’. “With its growing economy and nearly 20% year-on-year growth in outbound travel, we believe it is the right time to engage with the Indian market. We decided to be less centered on a particular geographical base and expand our reach to the Asian market,” said David Thomson, COO, JA Resorts & Hotels.

India has been consistently ranked as the No 1 global source market for Dubai, and being a short-haul destination, JA is looking at welcoming families and leisure travellers from the mid-market segment to its five emirate properties. “Our JA Jebel Ali Beach Hotel is only a six-minute drive from the recently opened Dubai Parks. Therefore, we will offer complimentary transfers to and from the parks for all our guests staying at the Resort with us,” Thomson said.

In order to reap long-term benefits, JA believes that time is ripe to plant the seed in the Indian market. Therefore, JA Resorts is focusing on the gateway cities of Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru, which are well connected to Dubai and the Maldives. “We believe India will rank among our top 5 source markets in the near future now that we have set our eyes here. Besides, we are open to discussions with hotel owners in India to manage properties. Since we are a resort and luxury hotel operator, destinations like Goa and Kerala would be our focus. We hope to enter into discussions with prospective owners in the coming months,” stated Thomson.

David Thomson,
David Thomson, COO, JA Resorts & Hotels with William Harley-Fleming, Group Business Development Director & GM, JA Manafaru

Expansion & Management

After cementing its position in the hospitality landscape of Dubai with five properties— JA Jebel Ali Beach Hotel, JA Palm Tree Court, JA Oasis Beach Tower, JA Ocean View Hotel and JA Hatta Fort Hotel in Dubai, JA Resorts started expanding its global footprint in 2013. The first in the expansion series was Seychelles with Enchanted Island Resort, followed by JA Manafaru in the Maldives in 2014, and an upcoming beach resort in Sri Lanka scheduled to open by Q3, 2018.

Talking about the criteria for selecting a property, William Harley-Fleming, Group Business Development Director & GM, JA Manafaru, said, “As part of our long-term

management agreements, we are predominately focusing on the Indian Ocean, with properties of five-star category or above in leisure destinations. Besides, our relationship and confidence with the owners of the property is of utmost importance. Currently, talks are underway with owners in Sri Lanka to open new resorts.”

Sky Lobby, JA Oasis Beach Tower

JA Manafaru Maldives

At present, JA Manafaru in the Maldives records an average length of stay by Indians of four to seven nights. Besides honeymooners, the property is looking at welcoming families, groups and women travellers from India. “Maldives is a short-haul destination from India and air connectivity is improving.

Maldives is a year round destination, and the monsoon months from June to September are equally beautiful. Not just the honeymoon segment, there is an option to celebrate special occasions at JA Manafaru like hallmark birthdays, anniversaries, family gatherings, etc. We have an amazing spa, offering a range of treatments like Ayurveda, Swedish massage, Thai massage, along with a Yoga Class. We can design a health programme for travellers who would like to relax and indulge themselves,” said Fleming.

JA Manafaru has a kids club, where attendants are certified by a British company to take care of kids from 3 months to 18 years. The attendants who engage with kids, are trained in first aid, ensuring safety and security. The property has 84 villas, with private pools, grand water villa of 3,900 sq ft, 2-bedroom and 3-bedoroom royal island suites. “We have senior management and sales teams of companies from the CIS and European countries coming to JA Manafaru for half-day meetings combined with recreational activities which serve as a team-building exercise. We personalise the experience for such groups with activities like tug of war, beach football, and volleyball to choose from. There is also a private island, which is a five- minute speed-boat ride from the resort to organise events for 20-25 pax,” he elaborated.

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