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A glass half full…for now

A glass half full…for now

The UAE is on the receiving end of shifting interregional travel, but how sustainable is this surge, asks Precious de Leon.

March 27, 2011 5:09 by

This year has been monumental for the Middle East to say the least and we’re only in the first half of the year. It’s a perfect storm that has been brewing over decades, that has reached boiling point with the economic hardships of last year.

In the world of business, however, the show must go on. Manpower may have had to be thinned down and some projects shelved but the desire not just to survive but to thrive in this environment is palpable, particularly in the GCC. It is evident through the push for stronger tourism offering, better events and hospitality programmes and more encouragement for SMEs and entrepreneurship.

And so, the precarious connection between the unrest in some parts of the region and a renewed push for a stronger economy in other parts is resulting in what can be delicately (consider this Kipp’s disclaimer) described as a half-glass full situation for those that fall in the latter category.

One example is the 90 percent increase in visitors from Saudi Arabia that has helped boost Abu Dhabi’s guest numbers to 17 percent last month compared with February last year, according to The National.

Total revenue increased by 24 percent to $120.5 million and the average length of stay increased 10 percent to 2.99 nights.
According to the article, hoteliers attribute the spike in numbers to “unrest in other countries around the region” and at the numerous exhibitions that city has hosted in the first quarter of the year.

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