GCC tipped for lopsided recovery

01 May 2011

UAE GDP expected to achieve four per cent growth in 2011

Germany’s Deutsche Bank forecasts a “lopsided recovery” in the GCC in 2011 as regional uprisings continue.

The UAE and Qatar are the most stable countries in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region, said Henry Azzam, chairman of the Mena region, Deutsche Bank at the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) on 1 May.

The UAE is forecast to achieve a four per cent growth in its gross domestic product (GDP) in 2011, compared to a 1.8 per cent growth in 2010. Dubai, in particular, is continuing to perform well as it is absorbing traffic originally intended for destinations suffering from political unrest, such as Bahrain and Egypt.

For the first quarter of 2011, the average occupancy of hotel rooms in Dubai was 80 per cent, the highest in the Middle East and North Africa region. Occupancy in Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Doha was 70 per cent.

Saudi Arabia’s GDP is predicted to rise between 7 and 7.5 per cent in 2011. Countries such as Bahrain and Egypt will report a negative growth this year due to the uprisings, Azzam says.

Occupancy levels in Cairo are starting to increase, standing at 31.4 per cent and 32.6 per cent for the last two weeks in April, says Elizabeth Randall, managing director of STR Global. However, this is still half the usual occupancy for this time of year.

Jordan and Lebanon are also likely to witness a decline in tourism levels due to their proximity to areas of instability.

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