Abu Dhabi is planning a multi-billion dollar, private sector-led investment hotel infrastructure programme, as part of the emirate's programme to increase visitor numbers to more than 3 million in 2015 from just under 1 million in 2004. In the keynote address at the Second MEED Abu Dhabi Major Projects conference on 21 November, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) chairman Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon al-Nahyan said that by 2015 more than 17,000 rooms would be added.
'We recently approved an investment package covering 4,000 hotel rooms and apartments to be delivered in the next three years,' Sheikh Sultan announced. 'In addition, a further 2,000 rooms have gone through the first stage of the licensing process.' Sheikh Sultan said that the rapid growth in national carrier Etihad Airways, the need for economic diversification and ADTA's heightened marketing campaign overseas was driving the hotel construction plans. 'To accommodate this growth, we will need more hotels,' he said. 'The planned growth in Abu Dhabi tourism will represent a wealth of opportunities to private sector investors over the coming years.' In addition to carrying out regulation and classification of hotels and tourism marketing and promotion, ADTA is acting as an investment facilitator for the hotel sector. The body has started allocating land plots for investors. One of the first awarded went to the local Al-Jaber Groupfor its Shangri-La resort project between the Maqta and Mussafah bridges (MEED 14:10:05).
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