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Abu Dhabi set for new hotel boom

|By TAP Staff| Some 5,200 rooms are expected to be added to the Abu Dhabi hotel sector by 2017. Of this, 2,300 rooms are set to enter the market by the end of 2015 alone, according to a report by JLL.

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.

The JLL report reveals that 45 percent 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.

According to Chiheb Ben Mahmoud, Executive Vice President, Head of Hotels & Hospitality Group Middle East & Africa at JLL, more than 70 percent 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, he adds. While there is an orientation in Dubai towards 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. This is expected to reconfigure the Dubai luxury hospitality market.

JLL reports that the total room count in Abu Dhabi, which is 20,700 at present will increase 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.

JLL attributes the positive growth 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 are all expected to contribute to this growth.

Attractions launching in Abu Dhabi in coming years include the new Louvre and Guggenheim museums and Warner Bros theme park on Yas Island.