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Abu Dhabi hotel industry on positive growth track
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 30 - 07 - 2015

THE Abu Dhabi hotel industry is experiencing positive growth with 5,200 rooms in the pipeline for 2017. 2,300 rooms are set to enter the market by the end of 2015 alone, JLL report revealed.
The Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (ADTCA) also report a 20% increase in hotel guests in the first quarter of 2015 compared to Q1 figures from 2014.
JLL disclosed in The Hotel Show Dubai report that 45% of current supply are 5-star properties. Openings in the final months of 2015 include the luxury Bab Al Qasr Hotel near Presidential Palace, set to boast 677 rooms and a private beach.
Chiheb Ben Mahmoud, Executive Vice President, Head of Hotels & Hospitality Group Middle East & Africa at JLL said: “More than 70% of hotel room supply in Dubai and Abu Dhabi are in the 4 and 5 star category. The proportion is higher for Abu Dhabi than for Dubai. This positioning structure is in line with the historical phase of destination building, driven by international and local corporate demand as well as corporate related leisure tourism (direct and indirect incentive), more than domestic and regional business.
While there is an orientation in Dubai to develop the branded quality Mid-scale segment (3-Star) offering, Dubai is also moving higher up in the luxury hospitality offering with the planned opening of high profile luxury hotel brands such as St Regis, Mandarin Oriental, Bulgari etc…and which could be expected to reconfigure if not redefine the Dubai luxury hospitality market.”
Christine Davidson, Group Event Director of the dmg events hospitality portfolio including The Hotel Show Dubai, the largest forum for the industry in the Middle East and Africa, said: “This is an exciting year for the whole of the hospitality industry in the Middle East with massive development across all of the Emirates, GCC and wider regions totaling 453 hotel projects and 134,217 rooms. The UAE currently leads hotel construction with Abu Dhabi and Dubai featuring as strong markets, and Saudi Arabia and Turkey following closely behind.”
JLL reported that hotel construction is already underway and will bring the total room count in Abu Dhabi from 20,700 at present to 26,000 by 2017. Optimism for Abu Dhabi for the rest of this year has led authorities to increase hotel guest targets for 2015 to 3.9 million instead of 3.5 million.
Positive growth is cited by JLL as being due to a large number of government initiatives to grow Abu Dhabi as a high quality tourist destination. The expansion of its International Airport and national carrier Etihad Airways, further improvement of its leisure offering and attractions, hosting world-class events, and major campaigns by the ADTCA to promote Abu Dhabi on a global scale.
Attractions launching in Abu Dhabi in coming years include the new Louvre and Guggenheim museums and Warner Bros theme park on Yas Island.
The growing Middle East hospitality and leisure market will be discussed in September this year at The Hotel Show & The Leisure Show taking on Sept. 28-30 at the Dubai World Trade Centre. More than 18,000 attendees from 98 countries will source products from 780 suppliers and gain insight from over 80 international industry experts at the popular Vision Conference. — SG

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