Outlook for the year 2021 is 'positive', despite Covid-19 fallout, says Al Habtoor chairman
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Outlook for the year 2021 is ‘positive’, despite Covid-19 fallout, says Al Habtoor chairman

Outlook for the year 2021 is ‘positive’, despite Covid-19 fallout, says Al Habtoor chairman

The real estate sector in Dubai recorded a strong sales growth of 17 per cent in January 2021

The first quarter of 2021 fared better-than-expected, on the back of post-pandemic recovery in the UAE, Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor, founding chairman of Al Habtoor Group (AHG) said.

“The Covid-19 pandemic, which took the world by storm, took everyone by surprise. It was something no country was prepared for, let alone companies or individuals. Many industries around the globe were brought to a standstill or faced complete collapse, particularly the travel and tourism industry,” Al Habtoor said.

The real estate sector in Dubai recorded strong sales growth of 17 per cent in January 2021 compared to the same period a year earlier, he added. “We have seen solid growth in our real estate division, achieving a more than 300 per cent surge in the volume of sales compared to the same time last year. This growth is being driven by investor confidence in the Dubai real estate market and the superior quality of the product. Many buyers from the Middle East, parts of Europe and the United States are seeing the UAE – particularly Dubai – as a safe and stable environment to relocate to.”

“The UAE administers more than 120,000 doses of the vaccine daily. Currently, more than 8 million people have been vaccinated in the country. We are well on the way for the UAE to become the first country in the world to vaccinate its entire population. This is one of the reasons why we are witnessing a pickup in certain sectors, like real estate and hospitality.”

The UAE was recently named as ‘the most popular tourist destination for 2021’ in a study conducted by global travel firm Kuoni, who revealed that the country has emerged as the world’s most searched destination for 2021 in 11 countries.

Al Habtoor said that the UAE’s hospitality sector has managed to withstand the impact of the pandemic to regain a healthy level of business and noted that his hotels have witnessed a steady rise in occupancy rates. “Our ability to be agile and adapt to the needs of the market have been critical to our success,” he said.

He noted that a ‘boom’ in staycations has been a contributing factor in the resurgence of hotel occupancy rates in Dubai, which reached 71 per cent in December, the highest level since February 2020; oscillating between 50 and 70 per cent over the past three months throughout the emirates.

“While we cannot receive guests from countries in lockdown, we continue to welcome guests from countries still able to travel, such as the CIS, Eastern Europe and the US,” Al Habtoor said.

Al Habtoor said other parts of the business are faring well. The group’s car leasing business, Diamondlease, increased its fleet size by 24 per cent to reach more than 10,000 vehicles in the period from March 2020 to March 2021, with 90 per cent utilisation.

He also noted strong results at Al Habtoor Motors, which match pre-pandemic numbers, and increased demand at Emirates International Schools.

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