Abu Dhabi Hotel Demand Is A ‘Concern’

The capital emirate’s initial plans are being redrawn with much longer completion dates announced.

In the UAE the ‘concern’ with the future hotel supply-demand relationship has moved from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, according to experts.

While Dubai took immediate advantage of the fallout of the leisure and MICE markets generated by the Arab Spring, much of Abu Dhabi’s hotel supply and related infrastructure is still under development.

The capital emirate’s initial plans are being redrawn and much longer completion dates for projects on Saadiyat and Yas islands have been given, said a report from hospitality business property advisor, Christie + Co.

“In a region that saw plenty of volatility last year, there are pockets of opportunity and growth potential. However, some countries will face an uphill political and economic journey this year before the hotel industry can fully progress towards recovery,” said Gavin Samson, director, Christie + Co, MENA.

Qatar will take the limelight this year for new hotel development activity, driven by its rapid economic growth and its hosting of the 2022 World Cup, the report said.

With 10,000 hotel rooms currently, and a further 6,700 potentially in the pipeline, there is still an emphasis on upscale hotel development in Qatar, but to meet the needs of a changing visitor profile this will quickly morph into a more diversified hotel market, and even more new hotel announcements.

Both Muscat and Salalah in Oman are committed to growth, with major tourism projects set to move forward this year, such as the Yiti Resort project. Future investment opportunities will be supported by the expansion of both international airports, the growth of Oman Air and improved direct air access for the tourism market.

Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and much of Northern Africa show long term potential for new hotel developments, but political volatility in the region is hampering serious investment for now, the report concluded.