New Decree on Hotel Licensing and Classification Issued in Dubai


In his capacity as the Ruler of Dubai, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has issued Decree No. 17 of 2013 on hotel licensing and classifying hotel establishments in the Emirate of Dubai.

The decree also defines the specialisations of Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) as a competent official body in the emirate entrusted to regulate hotel licensing and classification of hotel establishments. The new decree contributes to raising the standards of high-quality service for hotels in Dubai.

This decree shall be effective after three months of the date of its publication in the Official Gazette.

To that effect, Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) today announced the new system which will improve clarity and increase the transparency about the type and quality of hotel rooms and accommodation available across the Emirate and the services provided within the establishments.

The announcement was made on the sidelines of the Arabian Travel Market – at which DTCM has been outlining the ‘Dubai Tourism Vision for 2020′- and comes a year after the scheme was soft-launched’ at the same event in 2012.

Following a period of extensive research, benchmarking against key local and international destinations and discussions with the hotel industry, the Hotel Classification Scheme has now been put into effect. Designed to provide the industry and visitors with clarity and transparency on the type and quality of each hotel establishment within the Emirate, the system adopts a multi-layered framework to rate and categorise each hotel. The system provides specifications on the requirements for different types and levels of Guest Accommodations and its multi-layered framework will formalise the quality and standard of guest accommodation and encourage a wider range and choice for visitors.

Helal AlMarri, Director General of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, commented: “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. Following the soft launch of the new classification system this time last year, we have benchmarked it against grading schemes from markets in major destinations regionally and around the world, to help ensure that Dubai’s classifications are at the forefront globally. We have also worked in close partnership with the hotel industry to ensure that our new criteria match the range of tourist accommodation in the market today and that there is a smooth transition from the old classification system to the new one.” He continued: “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, with the ranges of categories and designators demonstrating the wide offering that has developed in Dubai, from a deluxe hotel apartment in the city to a family and golf resort on the beach, to a business hotel close to the airport. It’s important to note that the classification will not be an 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.” The Dubai Tourism Vision for 2020 was approved by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai earlier this week, and includes the target of 20 million visitors per year by the year 2020 – an increase of almost 100% on the 10.16 million visitor figure achieved in 2012.


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