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With Dubai aiming to attract 20 million annual visitors by 2020 and Abu Dhabi expecting to host more than 3 million visitors this year, it is but natural for the hospitality sector to ramp up its offerings to accommodate the rising influx of tourists in the country.
Although there are months that hotels and hotel apartments experience a dip in occupancy levels, this has not prevented developers/hotel groups from churning out new projects, and for existing hotels from hiking up room rates. A Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) Q2 2014 report revealed that the Dubai hotel market continues on its upward trend, hitting the highest RevPAR levels since 2008 and reporting a 3% increase in room rates, making the emirate ''one of the strongest performing hotel markets globally.'' The Abu Dhabi hotel sector, meanwhile, in a similar report, witnessed a 77% increase in occupancy levels and is expected to further improve its performance this year.
This year's additions to the Dubai hotel supply include Marriott Hotel and Marriott Executive Apartments in Al Jaddaf. Also in the roster, as per the JLL Q1 report, are Pullman Hotel in Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Hyatt Place in Deira, Hotel Sofitel Dubai Downtown, JW Marriott Marquis' second tower and InterContinental Marina. Expected to soon join the lineup are two Hilton Gardens Inn Hotels and InterCity Hotel in Culture Village. On the other hand, the JLL Q2 report stated that plans are underway to construct hotels within the proposed Mall of the World location.
New hotel stock in Abu Dhabi comprises Novotel – Al Bustan Complex and Royal Rose Hotel, which added 700 rooms to its previous number. Expected supply within the year includes Centro Capital Centre by Rotana, Southern Sun Abu Dhabi and several serviced apartments. According to the JLL Q2 report, long-term hotel apartments are currently in demand in the capital, especially on Yas Island, with new launchings expected over the next 12 months.
With a steady number of visitors, the country's hotels can rest easy as they will not be left wanting of guests.
• Dubai is one of the strongest performing hotel markets worldwide
• Plans are underway to open hotels in the Mall of the World site
• Long-term hotel apartments currently in demand on Yas Island
Source: Ellen Joyce Soriano, Special to Properties
The writer is a freelancer