Dubai hotel occupancy hit 89.6% in Jan

Dubai Shopping Festival leads to upswing in number of guests staying in emirate

Occupancy rates across Dubai's top end hotels reached an average of 89.6 percent in January, according to TRI Hospitality Consulting, representing an increase of 4.2 percentage points compared to a year ago.

The HotStats MENA report, which collates occupancy across four and five-star properties, found that average room rates in the glitzy emirate also rose 5 percent to US$359.39. Revenue per Available Room (RevPAR) was up 10.2 percent to US$321.85.

January typically sees a rise in the number of guests staying in Dubai's hotels, TRI said, due to the annual Dubai Shopping Festival, whose retail bargains entices out-of-town visitors to the city.

"This mega-event offers a perfect start to the year for the tourism establishments in the city, and helps bridge the gap between the end of year holidays and European winter breaks," said Peter Goddard, managing director at TRI Hospitality Consulting.

The report found that properties in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi were also able to capitalise from the overspill of guests visiting Dubai for the shopping festival, as hotels registered a 10.8 percentage point increase in occupancy to 71.7 percent during January. Despite this, average room rates continued to fall, sliding 10.7 percent during the month to US$167.77.

"Despite stronger demand, hotels in the capital have failed to capitalise these events to improve top line performances, simply due to the competition," Goddard added.

Elsewhere in the region, hotels in Kuwait saw a 6.1 percentage point increase in occupancy rates to 58 percent on an upswing in corporate and leisure demand.

Popular Egyptian resort Sharm El Sheikh witnessed a strong recovery in demand compared to last year, when the repercussions of the Arab Spring political unrest dampened the number of tourist visitors. In January 2013, occupancy was up 9.3 percentage points to 57.2 percent.

Egypt's capital Cairo saw occupancy improve 5.9 percentage points to 43.7 percent.

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