Abu Dhabi's hotels continued to feel the effects of the global slowdown in travel last month as they suffered their largest fall in room revenues in six years, data showed. Analysts said summer was typically a slow period for Abu Dhabi but the situation this year had been exacerbated by a decline in business travel. "Abu Dhabi is down largely due to the market being business-segment dependent and we are seeing corporate austerity measures kicking in ? which are taking their toll," said Alex Kyriakidis, the global managing partner at Deloitte Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure. Hoteliers in the capital have also reported a decline in the number of leisure visitors from Europe. "Whilst European leisure visitors have reduced in some periods versus last year this has been replaced by an increase in GCC guests," said Janet Abrahams, the director of sales and marketing at Emirates Palace this month. Hotels in the capital saw a 13.6 per cent drop in revenue per available room last month to Dh497.84 from Dh576.53 in the same month last year. Occupancies fell to 68.7 per cent from 74.2 per cent, and average daily rates dropped to Dh723.77 from Dh776.96, according to data from STR Global. TIn order to attract European leisure guests, Emirates Palace launched a reduced-rate promotion across its rooms and suites. Abu Dhabi, which is considered to have a severe shortage of good-quality hotel rooms, plans to double its supply of rooms over the next three years, with the aim of attracting 2.3 million hotel guests a year to the capital by 2012, compared with 1.5 million last year. The shortage of rooms has kept Abu Dhabi's room rates exceptionally high but 3,000 more rooms are due to open by the end of this year, and another 4,000 next year, according to the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority. New hotel openings this year include the capital's first Fairmont hotel and seven new hotels on Yas Island, which will open in time for the Formula One Grand Prix, which starts at the end of October. An increase in room supply could drive down prices, but the capital is investing heavily in its tourism attractions as it opens up new hotels, which should boost demand. "As long as the government continues to invest in these projects and the overall infrastructure, Abu Dhabi will continue to attract corporate, business and leisure clientele," said Victor Louis, the regional director of sales for Hilton Hotels, Arabian Peninsula and Indian Ocean. firstname.lastname@example.org
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