Australian holiday website HotelsCombined.com said on Tuesday the number of searches for hotels in the Gulf region was at an “all-time high”.
Dubai remains the most popular Gulf destination with a 158 percent increase in searches on the site this year. The company said the huge boost was due to price deals offered by hoteliers in the emirate for online bookings.
Sharjah and Kuwait City both showed more potential with significant search increases, although both destinations remain less popular than others in the region. Saudi Arabia was not included in the research, the website said in a statement.
Tourism continues to be a major growth sector for the region. Recent figures from the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority forecast the emirate’s tourist numbers will rise 15 percent next year. Meanwhile, Qatar, which is bidding for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, is reported to have set aside $20bn for tourism investments until 2013.
According to the statement, Abu Dhabi was the second most searched-for destination, followed by Manama in Bahrain and Doha in Qatar.
“Although Kuwait City enjoyed an increase in popularity of 200 percent, it remains the least popular capital in the Gulf with the most expensive average night rate,” HotelsCombined.com said.
The average price of a hotel room advertised on the website declined across the board, the statement said. Abu Dhabi saw the steepest fall with a 26 percent decline year-on-year to an average of $128 per night.
Rooms in Dubai declined on average by 24 percent to $106; in Manama by 10 percent to $145; in Sharjah by 18 percent to $69; in Kuwait City by nine percent to $166; in Doha by seven percent to $130; and in Muscat by five percent to $161.
HotelsCombined.com is a hotel price comparison search engine, which has information from more than 2.5 million real-time international hotel deals simultaneously.