x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Palace casts an eye on the movies

Emirates Palace improves its earnings last year with 150,000 tourists and a 26 per cent rise in room rates as it now eyes hosting film productions.

Emirates Palace has become a popular wedding venue for families from India, Russia and China. Christopher Pike / The National
Emirates Palace has become a popular wedding venue for families from India, Russia and China. Christopher Pike / The National

Room rates at Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Palace rose by more than a quarter last year as guest numbers topped 150,000.

A 26 per cent rise in rates helped revenue per available room – the standard measure used by hotels – reach one of its highest levels since it opened in 2005, said the hotel manager Alexander Schneider.

“Despite the opening of many other luxury hotels and resorts in Abu Dhabi, Emirates Palace has continued to achieve a very high performance over the past years,” said Mr Schneider.

The hotel, meanwhile, hopes to raise its international profile further – as a backdrop for film productions.

“Emirates Palace is the only venue in the region qualified to offer a unique backdrop for film shootings and to curate a movie premiere screening in its auditorium at the same time,” Mr Schneider added.

Abu Dhabi is expected to add as many as 6,000 new hotel rooms over the next three years according to CBRE Middle East, the property broker.

“There is still a lot of supply to come up but that also makes it far more affordable than Dubai and travellers from within the UAE will remain one of its key markets,” said Matthew Green, the head of research and consultancy at CBRE. The broker expects hotel occupancy in Abu Dhabi to rise from about 65 per cent in 2012 to about 70 per cent this year.

Emirates Palace is currently focusing on Chinese, Indian and Latin American markets as Etihad Airways funnels more travellers from those countries through the emirate. India is Abu Dhabi’s largest tourism market in terms of the number of guests.

Emirates Palace has also become a popular wedding venue for families from India, Russia and China, said Mr Schneider.

The capital’s flagship hotel is owned by the Government of Abu Dhabi, and is managed by the Geneva-based Kempinski Hotels.

Abu Dhabi hotel operators are benefiting from rising visitor numbers to the country.

In November, Abu Dhabi National Hotels (ADNH) reported Dh842 million in operating revenues, an increase of Dh93m during the first nine months of the year compared with the same period in 2012.

The company recorded gross profits of Dh95.7m and net profit of Dh58.8m. ADNH’s total assets were Dh9.62 billion.

Its hotel division, which includes internationally branded owned hotels and its own Al Diar brand, and the retail unit were the main profit generators.

The latest additions to ADNH’s portfolio to come on stream this year – Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Villas, Sofitel Dubai Jumeirah Beach and Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal – led the charge to top the hotel division’s revenues to Dh562m, compared with Dh468m during the same period in 2012.

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