Abu Dhabi's hospitality market registered a 5 percent increase in occupancy levels in the first quarter of 2018, according to real estate consultants JLL.
Its Q1 2018 Real Estate Market Overview Report said the increase was in part driven by visas now being granted on arrival for Chinese visitors, Abu Dhabi’s largest overseas source market, ahead of India and the UK.
According to the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, the number of guests staying at hotels in the emirate earlier this year rose by 15 percent compared to Q1 2017 to reach 405,850.
“With the UAE now undertaking increased business with China, the hospitality sector has witnessed positive sentiment,” said Peter Stebbings, JLL's head of Abu Dhabi operations.
“The notable increase of Chinese visitors is supported by Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism Authority’s investment into Baidu, the Chinese equivalent of google, which commenced in Q4 of 2017. Attractions such as the opening of The Louvre Museum continued to boost visitor numbers from France” he added.
JLL's report also said the residential sector continued to soften in Q1 due to subdued demand and increased supply leading to more vacancies.
JLL added that office rents have remained relatively stable in Q1, although demand remains low as a result of reduced business growth and low oil prices.
The delivery of additional supply at a time of weak demand as well as ongoing corporate consolidations are expected to place further downward pressure on rents over the next 12 months, particularly within secondary buildings.
The retail market witnessed a softening in market conditions as mall operators are increasingly offering extensive leasing incentives to attract and maintain retailers. Vacancies have increased and average rental levels have declined over the course of Q1, the report noted.
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