Dubai tourism benefits from Arab Spring

Dubai: Hotels continued to enjoy high average occupancy rates of 79 per cent in the first three quarters of this year despite new supply coming onto the market, according to figures released by the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM).

The total number of rooms in Dubai rose by nine per cent during the first nine months of 2011. During the same period, hotel apartment occupancy rose by six percentage points from 73 per cent to 79 per cent while hotel occupancy rates rose by four percentage points to 76 per cent.

“We’ve had good occupancy across our hotels mainly because we’ve had a lot of success in new territorial markets we’ve opened in the last few years which have become big source markets. These include China, Japan and India. To take advantage of the demand, we’ve opened our own sales offices in these destinations,” Naeem Darkazally, associate vice-president for sales and revenue, UAE for Rotana, told Gulf News.

Safe haven

Dubai’s hotel industry has also recently benefited from the political turmoil affecting countries elsewhere in the region with holidaymakers viewing the UAE as a safe haven amid the unrest.

“We’re seeing an influx of GCC tourists. Some of these increases are due to unrest in many Arab countries. Destinations in the region are limited and security plays a big role,” said Darkazally.

During the first three quarters of this year, hotel establishments hosted 6.64 million guests, an increase of 11 per cent. These higher figures boosted hotel revenues by 20 per cent and hotel apartment revenues by 13 per cent according to DTCM.

“One reason why there is an increase in hotel guests is down to the fact that Emirates airline has become much larger and people are spending more time in transit. The airline is taking a proactive approach and encouraging tourists to spend some nights in the country,” said Nabeel Abu Alrub, director-general of Utravel, a boutique Dubai-based travel agency.

Guests coming to Dubai are also staying longer and spending more. Guest nights that measure the average length of stay rose 35 per cent to 8.46 million in the first quarter of this year. The average length of stay of guests at hotels was 3.2 days during this period, an increase of 18 per cent, while the average stay in hotel apartments stood at 4.9 days, an increase of 21 per cent compared with 4.1 days during the same period last year.

 

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