Winning back tourists: Dubai hotel occupancy surged in December

Rooms were 71% booked, the highest since February: STR

  
Image used for illustrative purpose. Dubai Skyscraper and Burj Khalifa, United Arab Emirates.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Dubai Skyscraper and Burj Khalifa, United Arab Emirates.

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Hotels around Dubai had the busiest time in December since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, as occupancy levels surged close to pre-pandemic levels on the back of high visitor traffic.

The city’s hotels were 71 percent occupied in December, the highest since February, according to preliminary December 2020 from STR.

The average daily rate (ADR), which stood at 608.92 dirhams ($165) and the revenue per available room (RevPAR), which hit 432.34 dirhams, were the highest in Dubai since January.

STR did not mention the reason why occupancy rates had surged in December. However, it should be noted that in December tourists from many European countries flocked to the emirate to escape COVID-19 lockdowns at home.

“Although down in year-over-year comparisons, Dubai’s three key performance metrics also pulled closer to pre-pandemic levels,” STR said in its report.

Hotels across the Middle East and Africa region reported “unprecedented performance lows” during the coronavirus lockdown early last year. Even after the easing of restrictions in June, occupancy rate at Dubai’s hotels sunk to 26.3 percent, down by 60.8 percent when compared with June 2019.

The emirate has kept its borders open to international tourists since early July 2020, in a bid to revive its local tourism industry. Last December, industry sources reported that there had been a surge in demand for travel to Dubai, partly driven by the positive news of the vaccine rollout, as well as the surge in international visitors avoiding lockdowns in their own countries.

Near pre-COVID-19 levels

STR said that compared to December 2019, the hotel occupancy rate in Dubai was still down by 10 percent, while the ADR was down by 9.1 percent and RevPAR fell by 18.2 percent.

“Although down in year-over-year comparisons, Dubai’s three key performance metrics also pulled closer to pre-pandemic levels,” STR said in its report.

(Reporting by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)

Cleofe.maceda@refinitiv.com

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