Rotana to open nine hotels in UAE by 2020

Abu Dhabi-based chain set to boost number of UAE properties to 44

PHOTO: An aerial view of the Saadiyat Rotana Resort in Abu Dhabi. Credit: Supplied

The Abu Dhabi-based hospitality chain Rotana is set to open nine new hotels in the UAE over the next five years, it announced in a statement.

The new hotels will include four properties in the capital Abu Dhabi and another five in Dubai, said Guy Hutchinson, the company’s chief operating officer.

Five of the hotels will be under the Rotana Hotels & Resorts brand, three will be under the Arjaan Hotel Apartments by Rotana brand, and one will be under the affordable brand Centro by Rotana.

Together, the new properties will add 3,598 keys to the company’s existing 9,584-strong room count in the UAE, taking the total number of Rotana hotels in the Emirates to 44 by 2020.

The hotel group also has a host of new projects in the pipeline in other Gulf markets like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait.

Rotana announced the opening of five new hotels in Saudi Arabia in 2016, three new hotels in Qatar and one new hotel in Kuwait by the end of 2018.

“The GCC remains the largest source market for Rotana properties in the UAE and elsewhere, with intra-regional travel on the rise and accounting for a larger share of visitor spend than ever before,” Hutchinson said.

Given the challenges in the international market – such as the Chinese economic slowdown and decreased spending by Russian tourists due to the rouble’s decline – Rotana is looking towards tourists from GCC states to bolster the UAE’s hospitality market, said Hutchinson.

Noting that 37 percent of Rotana’s room nights and 40 percent of its room revenue are generated from the Gulf region, Hutchinson said 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,” he said.

“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 (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) tourism.”

Dubai attracted over 14.2 million overnight visitors in 2015, remaining on track towards its goal of attracting 20 million visitors per year by 2020. Meanwhile in Abu Dhabi 3.8 million people checked into hotels in 2015.

A key driver of business and tourism growth in the UAE and GCC is the aviation sector, Hutchinson said.

“Investments in expanding airports, such as the AED117.5 billion expansion of Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central, will further drive international tourist arrivals, and we at Rotana look forward to continue working closely with various airlines, tourism bodies and other stakeholders in the UAE and the region to drive tourism growth.”

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