By Nikhil Pereira
Company reports 8% YoY growth with GCC travellers accounting for 37% of room nights and 40% of room revenue
Rotana has revealed plans to further expand its presence in the UAE with nine new hotel projects planned for Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
The proposed pipeline will materialise over the next five years, including four properties in the capital Abu Dhabi and five in Dubai, Guy Hutchinson, the company’s chief operating officer, stated during the hotel group’s 2016 GCC roadshow.
The new properties include five under the ‘Rotana Hotels & Resorts’ brand, three under the ‘Arjaan hotel apartments by Rotana’ brand, and one under Rotana’s lifestyle affordable hotel brand, ‘Centro by Rotana’.
Together, these hotels will add 3598 keys to the company’s existing 9,584-room count in the UAE alone, and will take the total number of Rotana properties in the UAE to 44 by 2020.
Rotana is hoping to improve its presence in the GCC countries having recently announced the opening of five new hotels in KSA in 2016, three new hotels in Qatar and one new hotel in Kuwait by the end of 2018.
The hotelier visited major cities in KSA, Doha, Kuwait, Dubai and Abu Dhabi as part of a near week-long roadshow that kicked off in Jeddah on January 31.
“The GCC remains the largest source market for Rotana properties in the UAE and elsewhere, and with intra-regional travel on the rise and accounting for a larger share of visitor spend than ever before, now is the perfect time for Rotana to strengthen our relationships with our travel trade partners and share updates on our expansion plans for the region,” Hutchinson said.
Hutchinson also said that Rotana is looking to increase tourist arrivals from the GCC to help the UAE hospitality industry maintain its growth pace in 2016 following a sharp decline in the Ruble and the Chinese market crisis. “The shift in the UAE’s feeder market dynamic due to challenging global economic conditions has brought GCC travellers into sharper focus than ever before,” he said.
Noting that 37% of Rotana's room nights and 40% of Rotana's room revenue are generated from the GCC region, Hutchinson stated that the company has been seeing an increase of more than 8% year on year.
“We are very optimistic about the outlook for the UAE and GCC tourism sector in 2016. Although the market environment continues to remain challenging, we see many positive trends and developments that could yet propel hospitality growth in the region in the year ahead – such as increased infrastructure spending by GCC governments, continuing rise in intra-regional travel percentage, and the rapid growth of MICE tourism,” he said.
He remains confident on the outlook for Abu Dhabi, and claims the capital will post a healthy RevPAR this year. Hutchinson feels occupancy numbers will rise in Dubai in the year ahead as well.
Dubai attracted over 14.2 million overnight visitors in 2015, while in Abu Dhabi 3.8 million people checked into hotels last year.