Local Business

Mena hotel occupancy rises amid easing travel curbs

Issac John /Dubai
issacjohn@khaleejtimes.com Filed on August 2, 2021
Ongoing monitoring of the Covid-19 pandemic by government entities and other key touristic stakeholders has informed how markets open and close

Hotel occupancy in the Middle East North Africa region continues to improve amid easing travel restrictions, Colliers said in its latest report, while cautioning that controlled and consistent growth is the key to recovery.

In its August Mena Hotel Market Forecast - August 2021, the global commercial real estate services company said improving on the hospitality performance in the key markets is also required to sustain recovery. “As we move through 2021, we begin to observe several markets building on recovery that began in Q4 2020. Ongoing monitoring of the Covid-19 pandemic by government entities and other key touristic stakeholders has informed how markets open and close.”

The report said that Sharjah achieved a four per cent average monthly increase of occupancy over the past 12 months. “Although, the rate of recovery has slowed in the second quarter of 2021, the core strategy of leveraging the domestic market has been critical to this recovery as inbound visitation improves,” it said.

In the UAE, The Palm Jumeirah hotels will see the biggest improvement in occupancy year-on-year in 2021, up 61 per cent to 69 per cent, with Abu Dhabi beach posting the smallest improvement by 18 per cent to 56 per cent.

Initial data released by the UAE tourism authorities revealed that the country’s hospitality sector staged a strong rebound in the first quarter with hotel occupancy rates across the emirates hitting 63 per cent, underscoring the remarkable success of the nation’s Covid-19 vaccine drive.

The country’s fast rebounding hospitality sector, which stood out as the world’s second busiest after China in 2020, posted in Q1 a 27.6 per cent jump in average length of stay in hotels to 4.3 nights compared to the same period last year,.

In Saudi Arabia, a restricted observance of Hajj in 2021, limited to 60,000 pilgrims from within the kingdom, resulted in significantly reduced demand in the Holy Cities. The Riyadh market improved, due to demand for four-star and lower positioned five-star hotels, which contributed to an improved outlook for the full year.

Jeddah is expected to see the greatest increase by 39 per cent to 54 per cent, with Al Khobar the smallest increase by four per cent to 56 per cent. In Bahrain, new entry restrictions on 19 additional countries had a significant impact on inbound tourism recovery. However, the Bahrain market is still expected to achieve a year-on-year improvement of 53 per cent in 2021, Colliers said.

In Egypt, return of demand from Gulf residents benefitted the Cairo market with occupancy forecast to soar by 112 per cent in Hurghada to 51 per cent. In combination with recovery in the Commonwealth of Independent States market, sustained recovery is expected in all hotel markets, the report said.



Issac John

Editorial Director of Khaleej Times, is a well-connected Indian journalist and an economic and financial commentator. He has been in the UAE's mainstream journalism for 35 years, including 23 years with Khaleej Times. A post-graduate in English and graduate in economics, he has won over two dozen awards. Acclaimed for his authentic and insightful analysis of global and regional businesses and economic trends, he is respected for his astute understanding of the local business scene.

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