Abu Dhabi records 18% rise in hotel guests in October

The tourism body said that 418,883 guests checked into Abu Dhabi’s 163 hotels and hotel apartments in October. (Courtesy Yas Viceroy Hotel)
Updated 25 November 2017
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Abu Dhabi records 18% rise in hotel guests in October

DUBAI: Abu Dhabi hotels reported brisk demand in October with Chinese visitor arrivals to the emirate expanding at high double-digit figures, latest data released by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT) show.
The tourism body said that 418,883 guests checked into Abu Dhabi’s 163 hotels and hotel apartments in October, or about 18 percent higher compared with the same month of last year. Year-to-date guest arrivals meanwhile rose by 8 percent to 3.9 million as of October.
“The emirate [is] on track to surpass last year’s record total of 4.4 million,” the tourism authority said, as it earlier predicted the number of international visitors to Abu Dhabi would reach 4.9 million this year, a 10 percent rise from 2016.
The Abu Dhabi tourism body said that the lifting of the visa restrictions on visitors from China at the beginning of the year underpinned a 88 percent rise in tourists from the Asian country to 32,000 during the month.
The benefits reaped from the department’s extensive marketing campaigns across the country including the new ‘Abu Dhabi Week in China’ initiative held recently in Shanghai, the agency said.
Guest arrivals from the US also rose by 80 percent to 18,000 during the month, while major source markets UK and India reported 26 percent and 22 percent increase in visitors to the emirate, respectively.
“Our sustained efforts in improving the worldwide appeal of Abu Dhabi to tourists for both business and leisure is continuing to reap rewards, with the latest figures for guest arrivals supporting our endeavors,” Saif Saeed Ghobash, Director-General of DCT, said in a statement.
“Record numbers of people are staying in our expansive choice of accommodation across all three regions of the emirate and we aim to sustain and improve on this growth throughout Q4, traditionally our busiest time of the year.”
The Louvre Abu Dhabi on Saadiyat Island was opened early this month as the Abu Dhabi government refocuses its economy on non-oil sectors for growth, and has been extensively marketed by the emirate as the ‘jewel in the crown’ of tourism.
Louvre Abu Dhabi will display more than 700 exhibits, with artwork and artifacts from all over the world.


Gulf exporters to reap oil dividend as battle for Asia market share heats up

Updated 37 min 10 sec ago
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Gulf exporters to reap oil dividend as battle for Asia market share heats up

  • Chinese exports to US fall
  • IEA ups demand forecast

LONDON: China is expected to buy more oil from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf producers as it seeks to replace US supply amid a worsening trade war with Washington.
Although China last week omitted US crude from a list of a retaliatory tariffs, analysts told Arab News that the Chinese were cutting forward orders for US oil in case the trade war escalates.
Richard Mallinson, co-founder of London consultancy Energy Aspects, said: “Chinese buyers, anticipating that crude and LNG could go on the list if tensions escalate further, are looking to alternative sources.”
Mallinson said that Chinese buyers wanted to avoid having significant amounts of US oil sitting on tankers in the middle of the ocean, which would be hit with tariffs when unloaded at Chinese ports.
“There is definitely an opportunity for Middle East producers here, and particularly the biggest, Saudi Arabia,” he said.
Andrew Critchlow, head of energy news (EMEA) at S&P Global Platts, told Arab News that there was every likelihood of more demand from China for non-US oil and “Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council countries were the place to get it.”
OPEC already provides 56 percent of China’s oil imports, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). The US has also been exporting increasing levels to the Asia powerhouse.
A report by the Houston Chronicle on Aug. 13, said that US crude exports to China surged from about 22,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2016 to almost 400,000 bpd last year and early in 2018, accounting for about 20 percent of all US crude shipments.
This summer, those volumes fell below 200,000 barrels daily, said the report.
Critchlow said that the Kingdom was currently producing about
10.5 million bpd with spare capacity of around 2 million bpd, although the closer you get to that number, the more difficult it was to extract and process, he said.
Russia could also ramp up production, but not as much as KSA, said Critchlow.
“We now have the IEA upping its demand forecast for 2019. They have increased their OPEC barrels estimate by a few hundred thousand barrels a day and by half a million a day by 2019 (for the OPEC 15),”
he said.
But the scope for increased global export potential from the Gulf was also being driven by anticipated tighter supply after the reimposition of US sanctions against Iran later this year.
Still, there was a danger of demand erosion the longer the trade wars continued, and especially if there was further escalation.
Shakil Begg, head of Thomson Reuters oil research in London, warned that by the second half of 2019, global GDP could be cut if world trade levels contracted.
That would lead to a sharp fall in the price of crude, and even herald a US recession that could spill into Europe, he told Arab News.
But Critchlow made the crucial point that the big competition in the oil market today “is to win a bigger share of the Chinese and Asian market, including India.”
He said: “That’s where the battle for market share will take place over the next decade. Also, as Iranian barrels are lost, customers in nations such as China, South Korea, India and Japan will look to the GCC and others to step in.”
US exporters will still be a big force to be reckoned with, he said. The IEA has predicted that the US will overtake KSA and Russia as the largest producer by as early as 2019.
Mallinson said: “At the end of this year and the beginning of next, the market is going to get extremely tight. And the Saudis will have to pump at much higher levels.
“When you’ve got buyers restricted from where they go, it does create alternatives to move upwards,” said Mallinson.
But he warned that if the trade war worsens, it could hobble economic growth.
“These are the two largest economies in the world and it is not good news for them getting into a conflict like this.
“But even with a severe economic slowdown, we still see a tight oil market next year. Iran and sanctions are the biggest driver.”
Mallinson said that there were two other constraints: Underinvestment in capital projects outside the US, and infrastructure bottlenecks
in America.
“Those factors are big enough on the supply side to outweigh the possibility of a sharp slowdown of growth on the demand side,” he said.