ABU DHABI – The Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), the apex body responsible for managing the tourism industry within the emirate of Abu Dhabi, is to regulate hotel room rates in the UAE capital from November 1 to November 8 this year in a move aimed at reinforcing the destination’s profile as an international business tourism hub.

The rate regulation covers the staging of the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition & Conference (ADIPEC), one of the world’s largest industry events for the oil and gas sector, which runs at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center (ADNEC) from November 3-6.

The initiative addresses concerns raised by the Meetings, Incentive Conference and Exhibitions sector about room rate escalation by some hotels in the UAE capital.

“ADTA takes very seriously its responsibility for the longer-term development of a sustainable industry which benefits locals and visitors alike. To this end, the ADTA sought from the Executive Council, limited powers to influence accommodation prices and conditions,” said His Excellency Mubarak Al Muhairi, Director General, ADTA.

The powers were granted by the Executive Council in Committee 8, Session 31/2008 on September 9th this year.

“Rates were decided after accommodation providers supplied their high season corporate rates for room stock during the lead up, conduct and wind down to ADIPEC to establish robust market averages per accommodation type,” explained Nasser Al Reyami, director, Tourism Standards, ADTA. “These averages were compared and contrasted with international benchmarks for cities such as London, New York and Singapore.

“In most cases, the corporate rates were approved as the maximum charge for rooms during this time. In a few cases the corporate rates quoted were considered to be outside market averages so maximum charges per day were also set. In all cases, the lowest of the two prices – either corporate rates or the capped rates – will apply.”

Guests who have already booked rooms at higher rates during the relevant period are to be refunded the price differential.

Abu Dhabi is currently experiencing a short fall in hotel accommodation compared to demand which has led to a rise in room rates. Additional room inventory is due on line from next year when the ADTA believes market fundamentals will lead to self-regulation by the hospitality industry.

“ADTA will continue to work with its accommodation sector colleagues to ensure that the emirate’s reputation as a good place to visit and do business is maintained for the long term,” said Al Muhairi.

“A substantial commitment to the development of major new accommodation, cultural, entertainment and retail facilities is well under way, however, creating new development and capacity takes time.

“ADTA has a target to achieve a total 30,000 hotel room inventory in the emirate by 2013. During this period there will be times when accommodation capacity will be strained, especially when major events are held. These can be seen as the growing pains of a strongly emerging destination.”

Abu Dhabi is investing heavily in its MICE infrastructure with the AED 8 billion Capital Centre development underway adjacent to ADNEC.

“Abu Dhabi is emerging as a strong international meetings contender, and it is vital that it demonstrates to its organizing partners and thousands of exhibitors and visitors who use our state-of-the-art facilities that we understand their business and can add value to their experience in the emirate,” said Simon Horgan, ADNEC Group, CEO.

“This ADTA initiative will send a strong signal to the international marketplace that Abu Dhabi values and respects its business partners and has credible long-term growth credentials.”