UAE hotels among 'best performers' in 2020 with 51.7% average occupancy

Market heading for V-shaped recovery, says industry source

Image used for illustrative purpose. A nice yellow hotel room with one bed.

Image used for illustrative purpose. A nice yellow hotel room with one bed.

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Hotels in the UAE and around the Middle East are heading for a V-shaped recovery after putting up a “sterling performance” compared to their global peers last year, an industry source said on Tuesday.

According to STR data, hotel occupancy in the country and the Middle East reached 51.7 percent and 45.9 percent, respectively.

“Although these figures were [16.5 percent and 29.3 percent] down year-on-year, given the challenges presented by the pandemic, it is a remarkable achievement and proves just how resilient the hotel sector is in the UAE and wider Middle East,” said Danielle Curtis, exhibition director for the Middle East at the Arabian travel Market.

Curtis noted that the UAE was one of the best performing countries last year, while the Middle East region was a “top performer globally”.

“If we drill down on these figures, [average daily rate] in Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah actually rose last year by 7 percent and 1 percent, respectively, compared with 2019,” said Curtis.

He also pointed out that during the New Year’s celebrations, hotels across Dubai were running average occupancies of 76 percent, with daily rates averaging $300.

“I am certain that many hoteliers in the Middle East are now preparing for a V-shaped recovery, especially with the successful rollout of the vaccine and the ensuring herd immunity,” he added.

Hotels in the UAE, which relies on tourism revenues, were among the worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic last year. Establishments in the hospitality sector were forced to shut down following government-mandated restrictions in March.

While the restrictions eased in the middle of last year, visitor arrivals remained low and only started to improve towards the end of 2020 and early this year.

According to STR’s December 2020 data for Dubai hotels, the average daily rate and revenue per available room were the highest in Dubai since January.

(Writing by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)

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