Dubai hotels post biggest jump in occupancy in region


By Vicky Kapur

Hotel occupancy in Dubai witnessed a 10.5 percentage points increase in July 2011 year-on-year, the biggest such increase within the region, global consultancy Ernst & Young said in its Middle East Hotel Benchmark Survey. Occupancy in Dubai hotels rose to 80.8 per cent in July 2011, up from 70.3 per cent in July 2010.

Reflecting this increase, the average room rates in Dubai rose 6.2 per cent year-on-year to $158 per night in July 2011, compared with $149 in July 2010, data in the E&Y report showed. With a high occupancy rate of close to 81 per cent for the month, yield per room in Dubai also registered a region best growth of 22 per cent year-on-year to $128 per room in July 2011 from $105 in July 2010.

Abu Dhabi hotel occupancy rose by a couple of percentage points, from 69 per cent in July 2010 to 71 per cent in July 2011, while average room rates in the UAE capital declined 8 per cent, from $161 to $148, during the same period.

Elsewhere in the region, Bahrain and Egypt registered negative growth numbers, owing to the political tension in those countries. Occupancy in Manama hotels was down 5 percentage points to 43 per cent, with average room rates down 20.2 per cent to $156, while yield per room in hotels in the Bahraini capital slumped 29.2 per cent $67.

Egyptian capital Cairo was the worst hit in the region, with occupancy plunging by 33.2 percentage points to a dismal 39.1 per cent in July 2011, compared with a healthy 72.3 per cent in July 2010. The average room rates, however, did not mirror this decline, slipping just 3.4 per cent during the same period, from $128 in July 2010 to $124 in July 2011. The yield per room, on the other hand, tumbled by a massive 47.8 per cent to $48 in July 2011, down from a very respectable $92 in July 2010.