UAE staycations still a top option even as world reopens: Experts

James Jose /Dubai Filed on July 10, 2021
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Dubai is expected to record an average of 52 per cent occupancy this summer.

While there has been a surge in residents going on overseas holidays, many still choose to explore the ‘hidden gems’ of the UAE, industry experts have said, noting a ‘massive demand’ for staycations this summer.

Dubai is expected to record an average of 52 per cent occupancy this summer, according to recent market research.

Colin A Baker, regional director for Middle East at StayWell Holdings, explained: “We are seeing steady occupancy numbers this summer, which are close to our forecasts for the period. Based on the recent STR reports, the city is expected to record an average of 52 per cent occupancy. There will be a primary focus on family travel and local staycations this summer as research supports that domestic holiday-makers are inclined to travel with family.”

Park Regis Kris Kin Dubai, he said, has seen a steady uptake for summer staycations. Enquiries and bookings are coming in from across the Emirates, with Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, and Ajman being the key contributors, Baker said.

“While we have built up a good base during this period, we expect more last-minute and even some same-day bookings. Staycation trends with two adults and children in our junior suites and two-bedroom duites are highly popular with the incoming reservations,” he added.

Emily Jenkins, head of leisure UAE at dnata Travel, said that since residents started rediscovering the Emirates’ wonders last year, staycations in Ras Al Khaimah have been particularly popular, owing to the destination’s natural attractions and striking resorts.

“Whilst for summer 2021, demand is increasing for Abu Dhabi and Fujairah,” said Jenkins.

Mark Kirby, head of Emaar Hospitality Group, said staycations account for 44 per cent of the business.

“We are fortunate that we have The Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa and the fountains, so we actually managed to bring a solid staycation programme together,” Kirby said.

Talking about the Covid safety protocols in place, Kirby said: “We were one of the first hotel companies that closed our hotels (last year). We did that for business protection and customer safety, then we made sure we progressively learnt how to reopen. We learnt a lot of things in that period, from contactless touch points, sanitising our rooms and digitalising our customer journeys.”

The Address Hotels and Resorts, Armani Hotel and Vida Hotels and Resorts come under the Emaar Hospitality Group and only Address Downtown had remained open during the past year.

James Jose

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