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Sun 1 Jul 2018 10:44 AM

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Abu Dhabi bucks the UAE's softer hospitality trends

Dubai's occupancy rates fell by 3.4% and RevPar was down 13.3% compared to last year

Abu Dhabi bucks the UAE's softer hospitality trends
Dubai’s occupancy rates fell by 3.4 percent from the previous April, although year but still maintained one of the highest occupancy rates – 81.8 percent – in the region.

The month of April painted an intriguing picture for the UAE hospitality sector according to a new report from EY.

The MENA Hotel Benchmark Survey Report for April 2018 painted to a positive picture for the capital, with Abu Dhabi’s occupancy rates climbing 4.7 percent compared to April 2017 – mainly thanks to the inaugural 2018 Culture Summit, which attracted government officials, philanthropists, art administrators, business leaders, technologists and artists from more than 80 countries.

Indeed, Abu Dhabi enjoyed the highest occupancy rates of any GCC city in April at 87.9 percent.

In comparison, Dubai’s occupancy rates fell by 3.4 percent from the previous April, although year but still maintained one of the highest occupancy rates – 81.8 percent – in the region.

The city could also point to a robust MICE sector driving a positive picture again, thanks to events such as the Dubai Property Festival (DPF) and International Property Show (IPS) taking place in the month.

Ras Al Khaimah came in second place, with occupancy rates at 85.4 percent.

That said, revenue per available room (RevPar) remained under pressure. Abu Dhabi’s positive occupancy rates were set against an average of just $97 per room, while Dubai’s RevPAR – although it fell 13.3 percent - from $271 in April 2017 to $235 in April 2018. That’s fully $138 more per room, while the highest average room rate was $288.

The decline is, according to the report’s authors, is down to an increase in supply as well as an increasing preference for more wallet-friendly accommodation in the city, boosted by the arrival of the likes of Rove in prime locations.

“High occupancy in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi can be attributed to global and regionally focused high profile conferences and exhibitions,” commented Yousef Wahbah, MENA Real Estate, Hospitality and Construction Sector Leader at EY.

“Overall, the MENA hospitality market is expected to experience similar levels of performance over the next few months, with MICE activities tapering off towards the middle of May due to the start of the holy month of Ramadan and the beginning of the summer season.”

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