Abu Dhabi to get 2,400 new hotel rooms

The emirate reported an 11 per cent increase in hotel guests through May, compared to the same period last year, consultancy JLL said in a report.

A room at the new Bab Al Qasr hotel in Abu Dhabi. Courtesy Millennium and Copthorne
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Abu Dhabi expects to get 2,400 new hotel rooms this year, as exhibitions drive demand in the capital.

The emirate reported an 11 per cent increase in hotel guests through May, compared to the same period last year, consultancy JLL said on Wednesday in a report ahead of the Hotel Show Dubai next month.

The Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority is yet to release tourism figures for the first half of the year.

The addition of thousands of new rooms is putting pressure on room rates.

Abu Dhabi-based National Corporation for Tourism and Hotels (NCTH) reported a 1.6 per cent year-on-year drop in its first-half group revenues.

The company attributed the drop to the absence of the five-day, biennial defence exhibition Idex, which took place in February last year. Idex attracted 101,000 visitors and 1,200 international and local companies.

NCTH posted Dh410.9 million in revenues during the first six months, a drop from Dh417.8m during the same period last year. Its hotels division posted revenues of Dh149.9m during the first half, a drop from Dh161.4m during the first half of last year.

The Abu Dhabi-listed company owns properties that include the Abu Dhabi InterContinental and Danat Resort – Jebel Dhanna.

Abu Dhabi had 24,353 rooms from 104 properties at the end of May, according to research company STR.

The supply of hotel rooms and slowdown in the regional economy owing to low oil prices is also hurting the hotel sector, according to Desmond Hatton, the general manager at Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi.

“The overall demand to the destination Abu Dhabi in terms of both leisure and business travel is not proportionate to this extensive supply of hotels,” Mr Hatton said. “There is always an opportunity to further boost the marketing of the destination as a whole towards fostering the demand.”

New hotel openings this year include the 428-room Grand Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Residences Emirates Pearl and Bab Al Qasr. The 200-room Four Seasons on Al Maryah Island opened in May, and the 156-room Gloria Downtown Hotel opened in April.

The delayed 677-room Bab Al Qasr is expected to open this current quarter.

Bab Al Qasr will be the first property to open as part of Millennium and Copthorne Middle East and Africa’s luxury Biltmore Collection.

Increased competition means more Abu Dhabi hotels are offering packages and room promotions, consultant CBRE said in its second-quarter report for the Abu Dhabi market.

That includes room packages from Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi until the end of September, Yas Waterworld packages from Rotana and room rates at half the price from some luxury hotels, compared to Dubai properties during the summer season. A room at Four Seasons hotel in Abu Dhabi starts at Dh790 for a Friday night later this month, compared to Dh1,760 for a night at its Jumeirah property in Dubai the same day.

In May, the latest data available, Abu Dhabi average occupancy rose 1.3 per cent to 74.4 per cent year-on-year, while the average daily rate decreased 4.1 per cent to Dh433.10, according to STR.


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