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Sun 7 Aug 2011 04:11 PM

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Arab Spring helps Dubai hotels defeat summer lull

Emirate trades on safe haven reputation to post 12% rise in room occupancy

Arab Spring helps Dubai hotels defeat summer lull
Hotel occupancy in the Middle East increased 3.2 percent in June

Dubai’s hotels outperformed the Middle East significantly in June by posting a 12 percent year-on-year rise in occupancy to 70 percent, data from Deloitte and STR Global showed.

Local events such as Dubai’s summer shopping sale helped spur a 14 percent boost in revenue per available room (RevPAR) to $111, the companies said in a joint report Sunday.

The increase was “an achievement in the face of increased supply,” analysts said, aided by the city’s reputation as a safe haven amid the Arab Spring revolts.

Abu Dhabi posted 60.9 percent occupancy during June, compared to 55.7 percent last year, but saw a drop in RevPAR to $79 from $86 as the Gulf’s high temperatures signalled the start of the Gulf’s low season.

Jeddah was rated as the region’s strongest performer, with 78.2 percent occupancy, an increase of 12.8 percent compared to June last year.

The Saudi city posted RevPAR of $168, a rise of 26.4 percent.

Middle East hotel rates continued to lead the global market in June, with average RevPAR at $127 for the month, despite political turmoil in the region deterring travellers from former tourism hotspots such as Egypt and Tunisia.

Room rates outpaced those in Europe ($90), Asia Pacific ($90) and the Americas ($61), with occupancy up 3.2 percent on the year-earlier period.

The worst performer of the Arab cities surveyed was Muscat, which saw 38.1 percent occupancy, down by 4.1 percent on the same period a year earlier.

By comparison, Cairo’s hotels had occupancy levels of 39.2 percent in June in the wake of widespread political rioting, compared to 57.5 percent in the same month in 2010.

Most of the Gulf cities are investing heavily in adding more hotel rooms, with Oman alone expected to add some 21 percent more rooms annually over the next five years.

Dubai itself 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. 

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