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Sat 14 Feb 2015 09:01 AM

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Russian retreat hits Starwood hotel revenues in Dubai

Hotel giant says the weakness of the Russian rouble directly contributed to a decline in Middle East RevPAR

Russian retreat hits Starwood hotel revenues in Dubai
The W brand is operated by Starwood Hotels and Resorts.

The weakness of the Russian rouble directly contributed to a decline in RevPAR in the Middle East for Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide in 2014, with Dubai in particular affected.

Announcing its fourth quarter results, the company revealed that RevPAR across the region, systemwide, fell 1.8 percent year-on-year in actual dollar terms to $132.02.

Dubai is a popular tourist destination for Russians and a convenient place for them to park some of their savings abroad.

Western economic sanctions against Moscow since the pro-Russian uprising in Ukraine, and the slide of the Russian rouble, appear to have reduced Russian visitors in recent months.

In an earnings call, CFO and EVP Tom Mangas detailed the impact of the economic problems in Russia.

“The decline in Russia inbound travel to the Africa and Middle-East regions, especially Dubai, due to the weak rouble contribute to RevPAR declines of 30 basis points in our Africa, Middle-East region,” he said.

“For the Africa, Middle East region, average daily rate was down 1.5 percent but occupancy increased 70 basis points.”

Growth in passenger traffic through Dubai International Airport, one of the world's busiest, slowed in November because of the geopolitical and economic instability hitting Russia.

Passenger traffic related to Russia and other countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States plunged 18.2 percent from a year earlier in November, Dubai Airports said.

For the 12 months to the end of December, Starwood saw RevPAR rise 1.5 percent across the region to $119.82, with ADR down 0.4 percent to $195.11 and occupancy up 1.1 percentage points to 61.4 percent.

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