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Abu Dhabi's hotel sector stays robust
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 23 - 10 - 2019

According to JLL's latest UAE Market report, the Abu Dhabi hotel market maintained healthy performance levels over the past quarter associated with the recent government initiatives aimed to promote tourism within the capital. In Dubai, the residential sector remained relatively stable over Q3 while further declines in performance were recorded in the office, retail and hotel markets.
Abu Dhabi has continued to focus on boosting visitor numbers and overall investment in the tourism sector through a series of high profile events, conferences and activations during the past quarter.
Driving global awareness and international visitation was the UFC-themed Abu Dhabi Showdown Week, which offered a range of entertainment events focused on health and fitness. Abu Dhabi also saw a large increase in Chinese visitors, partly due to the annual MeetChina conference.
Occupancy levels increased by 100 basis points, registering 71% in the YT August 2019, average daily rates (ADR's) increased by 8% from the same period last year to reach $113. As a result, revenues per available room (RevPar's) in Abu Dhabi during Q3 increased by 9% over the same period to register $80.
"The introduction of new events and initiatives, combined with an emphasis on key global markets and a drive to generate additional business from within the UAE is strengthening Abu Dhabi's tourism strategy," said Peter Stebbings, Head of JLL office in Abu Dhabi.
"The hotel market has continued to maintain healthy performance levels and as we look ahead, we expect the hotel sector to continue to perform strongly in Abu Dhabi over the last quarter, particularly with the upcoming annual Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Other planned government events that are intended later this year will also increase tourism in the city."
Despite multiple initiatives to support the hotel market by increasing the attractiveness of the city as a tourist destination, the Dubai hotel market recorded a softening of performance during Q3, with ADR's recording a 13% decline compared to last year. JLL's report indicates the hotel market in Dubai can expect strong visitor arrival growth and international interest during Expo 2020, which starts in a year's time, prompting a recovery in hotel market performance..
Dubai residential market approaches stability during Q3, JLL report showed. The residential market showed signs of stabilization, registering marginal declines of just 1% in both apartment and villa rents and sale prices, while apartment sale prices actually increased by 1% over the quarter. JLL expect prices and rentals will remain largely unchanged in the Dubai residential market over the next 12 months.
Retail rents in Dubai remained stable over the quarter but softened across all mall categories compared to last year. Market wide vacancies are estimated to have increased to 19% in Q3 2019 from 16% this time last year. Given the level of upcoming supply, coupled with evolving consumer tastes and the rapid proliferation of disruptive technologies, JLL expects rents to remain under pressure over the next year.
However, as highlighted in JLL's recent report titled ‘Redefining Retail Logistics – the Dubai Experience', the Emirate is well placed to leverage the retail industry's rapidly changing dynamics including rising e-commerce, new disruptive technologies and evolving consumer tastes. The report showed how retailers are addressing the challenge of fulfilling increasing demand for online delivery while balancing an oversupply of

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