Travel restrictions still impact UAE hospitality business: Abu Dhabi's NCT&H

National Corporation for Tourism & Hotels expects conditions in the industry to improve in the near term

Hotel Room. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Hotel Room. Image used for illustrative purpose.

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The ongoing restrictions on travel in the region and around the world continue to weigh on the hospitality business, the UAE’s National Corporation for Tourism & Hotels (NCT&H) said. 

The resorts and hotels operator reported a consolidated net profit of 25.3 million dirhams ($6.8 million) for the first three months of 2021, a slight improvement from the 23.96 million dirhams recorded a year earlier. 

However, the company said the effects of the pandemic, which continues to rage in other markets, are still being felt in the UAE. The company owns and manages several properties in Abu Dhabi’s hospitality industry, including the Intercontinental Hotel, Danat Al Ain Resort and Danat Jebel Dhanna Resort. 

“The corporation’s hotels division are still feeling the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with travel restrictions both internationally and locally affecting the demand for hospitality business,” the company said in a bourse filing to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) on Tuesday. 

NCT&H is a semi-government joint venture with the Abu Dhabi Investment Company and is dedicated to promoting Abu Dhabi travel and tourism.

Last week, the UAE announced a ban on travellers from India after the Asian state recorded the world’s highest daily tally of new coronavirus infections. Passengers travelling to the UAE from other countries are also subject to restrictions, including quarantine and RT-PCR tests. 

Hotel occupancy 

Hospitality markets worldwide were hit hard last year due to lockdowns and strict mobility restrictions.  

Hotel operators in the UAE started to see some improvement after the restrictions eased, with hotel occupancy reaching or surpassing 50 percent by December, data and analytics firm STR said. 

Occupancy rates improved further to around 59.5 percent in February and 62 percent in March. 

NCT&H expects the market to improve further over the short term, as the economy continues to bounce back from the COVID-19 slump. 

“The corporation believed that the economic conditions would continue to improve in the near future, and the current situation has no long-term effect [to the company],” the company said. 

While the firm’s hotels division saw an improvement in net profit, its retail segment didn’t do as well due to decreased demand. Profit in NCT&H’s retail division fell by 3.77 percent to 16.89 million dirhams during the same period. 

(Reporting by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria) 

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