Abu Dhabi freezes new hotel licenses: paper
DUBAI (Reuters) – Abu Dhabi will not issue new hotel licenses in the capital of the United Arab Emirates until further notice due to oversupply, a local newspaper reported on Sunday, citing a tourism official.
However, none of the already issued licenses will be revoked even if construction of the hotels has not begun, said al-Rroya al-Eqtisadiyya, quoting Naser al-Riyami, an official in the emirate’s tourism authority.
Across the oil-rich state, which accounts for more than half of the United Arab Emirates’ economy, government-backed real estate, commercial and tourism projects, many conceived during the boom years of 2003-2008, are under review and in some cases being delayed or put on hold.
Officials at the tourism authority were not immediately available for comment.
The average room rate in Abu Dhabi dropped 14 percent to about 450 dirhams in 2011, the paper said, as four thousand new rooms came online — bringing the total number of hotel rooms to almost 23 thousand in the capital.
The UAE is seen as a safe haven for wealth and tourism in the Middle East, where popular uprisings toppled three governments in 2011 and spurred the transition of a four Arab government earlier this year.
Abu Dhabi’s tourism authority posted a 6.5 percent growth in guest arrivals last year, as new hotels and an increase of Arab tourists from the hydrocarbon-rich Gulf brought the number of hotel guests to 2.11 million in 2011.