Dubai hotels get Eid boost from Arab Spring

Dubai hotels
reported occupancy rates of 90 percent and above during the Eid break as the city
benefited from the unrest that has roiled traditional tourist spots such as
Egypt and Tunisia.

Starwood
Hotels Resorts two beach hotels, Le Méridien Mina Seyahi and The Westin,
said occupancy was 95 percent for the two days over Eid while the Radisson Blu
Hotel Dubai saw highs of over 90 percent.

Rotana
said occupancy at its thirteen hotels in the emirate topped 90 percent.

“A lot
of it is down to the Arab unrest; people don’t want to go to places where they
are likely to be involved in hassle. The main purpose is to get away, have a
break, and relax with the families, particularly for GCC locals,” Leo Fewtrell, general manager of Dubai Travel
Tour Agents Group, told Arabian Business.


“What’s
happened in the Middle East countries, such as Libya, Syria, Egypt, has
minimised the travel options for a lot of GCC residents. Many UAE residents,
expatriates and nationals alike, chose to holiday within the UAE for the Eid
break,” said Naeem Darkazally, associate vice president for sales and revenue,
UAE for Rotana.

“There
was also a strong flow of business from the GCC, with an influx of guests from
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar in particular,” he added.

The UAE,
along with Qatar, has avoided the public protests that have swept the
Arab world this year, confirming its reputation as a regional safe haven.  

Ernst
Young said occupancy rates in Bahrain hotels dropped to 10 percent in
March, compared with 60 percent a year earlier, as widespread political unrest
hit tourist figures.  

In Oman,
hotel occupancy rates stood at 68 percent in March this year, down from 83
percent in March 2010.

Hotels
in Dubai outperformed the Middle East significantly in June posting a 12
percent year-on-year rise in occupancy to 70 percent, according to data from
Deloitte and STR Global.

Revenue
per available room (RevPAR) increased 14 percent to $111 aided in part by the
city’s reputation as a safe haven amid the Arab Spring revolts, said the two
firms.

Tourism
contributes about 25 percent to Dubai’s economy.

The
Rezidor Hotel Group, which operates the Radisson Blu and Park Inn, said the
majority of its guests at its Media City hotel were from Abu Dhabi.

“[We] experienced higher than average
occupancy rates in Dubai during Eid. This could be due to unrest in other parts
of the region, with visitors from around the GCC deciding to visit Dubai rather
than other traditionally popular destinations such as Egypt and Lebanon.” Neil
Reddington, regional financial controller, said in a statement. 

A string
of “staycation” deals launched by Dubai hotels during the Eid break also helped
boost occupancy during the Eid break. Dubai’s Meydan hotel was offering guests
rooms for AED525 per night including beach access at Atlantis hotel and one
session at a shooting simulator while every Hilton hotel in the UAE offered 40
percent off stays in August.

Dubai
has more hotels under construction than any other city in the world. A report
from tophotelprojects.com shows that the emirate has 97 hotels under
development, amounting to 35, 124 rooms.

Abu
Dhabi is second on the list, with 66 hotels and 21,572 rooms.