Affordability at the forefront: hospitality, residential sectors shift focus for tourists influx
The demand for affordable lodging is now fiercer than ever, say industry experts, as Abu Dhabi sets its sights on welcoming 7.9 million annual tourists to the region by 2030.
With an estimated 74,000 hotel rooms required to host the influx of visitors, leading international architectural and design practice Godwin Austen Johnson (GAJ) are seeing a shift towards more mid-market brands and price points, as they prepare to showcase a number of hospitality projects at Cityscape Abu Dhabi from 18 – 20 April at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.
Simon Chambers, Partner at GAJ, said: “Abu Dhabi is already home to a number of luxury hotels but if the capital is to develop its tourism product to meet the forecasted figures by 2030, it will need to continue building its portfolio of affordable business and city hotels.”
With figures gathered by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture showing that more than 4.4 million guest arrivals were recorded in the emirate over the course of last year, an 8% growth over 2015, Chambers believes visitor numbers will continue to rise over 2017.
“The Middle East shows consistent year-on-year growth and we are confident that the number of business and leisure travellers across the region will grow in line with booming economies, calling for more accessible quality hotels,” Chambers added.
The rising number of tourists is expected to spur capital chasing opportunities for investors in non-traditional channels, such as affordable, short-term holiday rentals like Airbnb and serviced apartments, which promises growth for investors looking to diversify their portfolio by seeking high yield returns from these dynamic rentals.
The three day Cityscape Abu Dhabi, held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, will showcase hundreds of investment opportunities for buyers across all price points in the region as well as the latest international developments.
Capitalising on the growth across the capital, leading architectural company, Aidea Inc will be launching their first international branch at the show, in a bid to bring the latest technology and design process to the market.
“Abu Dhabi is set to become the next highly urbanized commercial and tourist hub in the world,”
Abelardo M. Tolentino, Jr, CEO and President, Aidea Inc said. “The building industry has and always been at the forefront of developing tourism everywhere and it should continue to explore the ideas that excite the cultural diversity amidst growing globalization, as this will ensure a steady influx of visitors and residents over the next few years to the emirate. Technology, sustainability and energy efficiency will be key in this process.”
With affordability becoming a major focus for the hospitality sector to attract tourists, a shift towards low-middle income housing in the residential market is also proving to be a priority to meet the growing demand of expatriates.
Dr Kyriazis, Assistant Professor at Abu Dhabi University and speaker at this year’s new show floor feature Cityscape Talks, believes affordable housing is an attractive target for developers of all magnitudes.
“High-end architecture will always be part of the picture but what would benefit the city most is the development of our public spaces and low to middle income housing,” Kyriazis said.
“Affordable housing will be the answer to help ease the pressure applied by the increase in living costs. Combined with the need to control urban sprawl, this could be a game-changer for mid-value quality housing and a lucrative market for the main real estate players.”
The free to attend Cityscape Talks will run throughout the exhibition offering information for visitors and industry experts across a wide range of topics straight from the show floor, while the Cityscape Abu Dhabi Conference will return with a host of leading speakers who will focus on Destination Abu Dhabi: Investment opportunities in Abu Dhabi’s hospitality and free zones.
With hundreds of developments from Abu Dhabi and overseas being showcased, new exhibitors to the 11th edition include Al Sharq, the National Investment Corporation and Tiger Properties.
Manazel Real Estate, Aldar Properties, Eagle Hills, Mubadala, RAK Properties, Tilal Properties and United Gulf Properties are just some of the leading exhibitors gearing up for the UAE capital’s largest and most influential property investment and development event.