Abu Dhabi hotel market receives boost from domestic tourists

The emirate has no immediate plans to reopen for international travellers yet

Department of Culture and Tourism

Domestic tourists returning to Abu Dhabi have been instrumental in recovering the emirate’s hotel sector, according to Ali Al Shaiba, executive director, Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi.

Speaking to sister publication Arabian Business, Al Shaiba revealed occupancy during the second week of July has hit 60 percent for the capital city.

Unlike Dubai, where hotels have already benefitted from the return of international tourism, Abu Dhabi remains focused on its domestic market for the time being. Al Shaiba said: “We have our own plans and I think we are not far from there. We have plans and we are working with government authorities to put these plans in place. We are taking it gradually. The city is open now for domestic visitors. Once the travel restrictions ease, we will definitely welcome people from different parts of the world.”

“We believe that domestic will play a big role in the next few months as the travellers still have some concerns about travelling abroad. Domestic will be the key for us to recover the industry,” he said.

When asked about when he believes the industry could recover in the emirate, Al Shaiba said it could take as long as Q1 2023. Still, he assured that once the city bounces back, visitor numbers will rise above pre-pandemic levels.

He concluded: “We are definitely positive about the future, regardless of this COVID-19 impact which will take maybe a year or two.

But after that I think we will go back to normal. We believe we will see an increase in the number of visitors to Abu Dhabi.”

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