Surviving COVID-19: Busy Eid weekend offers respite to UAE hotels

"We are seeing high demand for the Eid holidays... We are positive that we will reach 100% occupancy," Ravi Santiago, cluster general manager of Wyndham hotels in Ajman, told Zawya

  
Image used for illustrative purpose. Man talking on the phone in hotel room.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Man talking on the phone in hotel room.

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The Eid holidays are bringing a bit of respite to the hospitality sector in the UAE, which has been severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Some hotel properties in the country, particularly those outside the city centre, reported that they are nearly booked up for the weekend, as residents opt to take a short staycation during the long weekend and take advantage of the attractive room rates.

The UAE has declared a four-day holiday for Eid Al Adha and Arafat for the public sector, starting from Thursday, July 30 to Sunday, August 2.

Eid holidays are a traditionally busy period for the travel and hospitality sector in the UAE. It’s that time of year when UAE residents spend a short vacation either in the country or abroad. The UAE, which is also a popular destination for visitors in the Middle East region, regularly attracts high visitor traffic from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region during special occasions.

Hotels with high occupancy

A spokesperson for the Wyndham Garden Ajman Corniche Hotel reported that their beachfront property was already 90 percent booked for the weekend as of Tuesday. The Ramada Beach Hotel in Ajman also expected its rooms to be 85 percent full throughout Eid, while Ramada Hotel & Suites Ajman have been 80 percent booked.

“We are seeing high demand for the Eid holidays… We are positive that we will reach 100 percent occupancy during the Eid holidays,” Ravi Santiago, cluster general manager of Wyndham hotels in Ajman, told Zawya.

Santiago said that since making travel arrangements abroad these days remain difficult despite the easing of international travel restrictions, many of the residents in the country are opting for a staycation to celebrate the Eid holidays.

“Eid has always been a busy period for the hospitality sector because of the extended holidays and this year coinciding with summer school holidays. This year, however, the reason is different. At present, UAE residents are unable to fly out to other holiday destinations or their home countries due to the current situation,” noted Santiago.

“Even though a small percentage are ready to travel, holiday plans have been put on hold because of fluctuating travel restrictions that emerge from time to time,” he added.

The coronavirus pandemic brought the UAE’s hospitality and tourism industries to a standstill, particularly during the lockdown period that started in late March. Since the easing of restrictions, guest traffic has been gradually returning, especially after Dubai started welcoming international tourists back in early July.

Middle East hotels reported up to 58 percent decline in occupancy and 35.1 percent fall in average daily room rates for April 2020, according to STR. The revenue per available room (RevPAR) also dropped by 72.7 percent to $29.82 during the same period.

“Hotels in the Middle East and Africa reported unprecedented performance lows during April 2020,” STR said.

(Reporting by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)

Cleofe.maceda@refinitiv.com 

#Hospitality #Travel #Tourism #UAE #COVID19

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