Dubai’s hospitality sector posed ‘biggest challenge’ to business: Deyaar CEO

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The chief executive officer (CEO) of Dubai-based property developer Deyaar is optimistic about the recovery of the hospitality sector after posting heavy losses in 2020.

The company reported on Monday that its losses for last year hit 216.9 million dirhams ($59 million), following a profit of 71.5 million in 2019.

“The year 2020 has witnessed big challenges as a result of the pandemic and its impacts on all sectors without exception, and we have been keen in Deyaar to ensure the continuity of all our operations during this crisis, as construction continued in our projects according to the scheduled timeline,” said Saeed Al Qatami, the company’s CEO.

“The biggest challenge we faced was in the hospitality sector, however we trust that the hospitality business [will] pick up and will return to grow again, especially with the efforts made by the government in taking all the precautionary measures while making great progress in the vaccination programme across the country.”

The UAE’s hospitality sector was among the hardest hit by COVID-19 in 2020, particularly during the global lockdown that saw border closures and created a strain on hotels heavily reliant on international tourism. Colliers ‘MENA Hotel Quarterly review showed hotel occupancy was down 38 percent in Dubai and 24 percent in Abu Dhabi in the third quarter.

As for the property market, the slowdown in visitor arrivals and tourism activity also posed some challenges. International investors represent a huge portion of real estate buyers in the UAE.

Deyaar’s total revenue reached 412.8 million dirhams in 2020, down from 603.7 million dirhams in 2019.

Deyaar is currently flagged as having accumulated losses of between 20 to 50 percent of issued capital on the Dubai Financial Market (DFM).

(Reporting by Imogen Lillywhite; editing by Cleofe Maceda)

Imogen.Lillywhite@refinitiv.com

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