Dubai hotels see 15% occupancy rebound in Feb

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By Andy Sambidge  www.arabianbusiness.com 

Dubai’s hotels posted a double digit occupancy rate increase in February, the first the emirate has seen since the start of the impact of the global downturn on its tourism sector.

The emirate’s hotels, which saw big declines in both revenues and occupancy rates in 2009, recorded a 15.9 percent rise to more than 86 percent, the best performer in the Middle East and Africa region.

The increase comes despite fears by some industry experts that the number of new hotels planned in Dubai will lead to an oversupply of rooms.

Latest data published by STR Global showed that the region saw increases in revenue per available room (revPAR), average daily rates (ADR) and occupancy rates.

Occupancy rose 1.9 percent to 65.7 percent, ADR increased 1.7 percent to $166.18, and revPAR grew 3.6 percent to $109.23.

But for the second month running, hotels in Abu Dhabi, which are aiming for 10 percent growth in tourists this year, suffered major declines in February.

In the region, the UAE capital experienced the largest decreases in all three key metrics. The market’s occupancy fell 31.2 percent to 58.9 percent, ADR dropped 39.9 percent to $233.03, and revPAR decreased 58.7 percent to $137.28.

“The Middle East/Africa region reported its first positive month of RevPAR growth since the second half of 2008—resulting in only a 0.8 percent revPAR decline for the first two months of this year, which is a marked improvement from a 10 percent revPAR decline in the 4th quarter 2009,” said Elizabeth Randall, managing director of STR Global.

Muscat, Oman, also saw a double digit occupancy rate increase to 73.2 percent, STR Global added.

Other than Abu Dhabi, two markets posted revPAR decreases – Muscat (-9.9 percent to $186.84) and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (-1.1 percent to $179.73).

More than 14,000 hotel rooms are set to come on line in the GCC region in 2010, according to new research.

Dubai-based research company Proleads said that the region is likely to see 48 new hotels with 14,178 rooms open in 2010, at an estimated cost of $7.3 billion, despite the impact of the global economic crisis.

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