New Year's Eve in Dubai: Hotels already 75% booked ahead of festive season

Bookings are set to reach 100 per cent around middle of the next month, say industry executives

by

Waheed Abbas

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Published: Tue 7 Nov 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Nov 2023, 10:37 PM

Many hotels in Dubai have reached 75 per cent of bookings for Christmas and New Year Eve and are set to reach 100 per cent around middle of the next month, say industry executives.

With more than 50 days still to go before the festive season begin, Booking.com search revealed 80 per cent of places are unavailable during Christmas and 88 per cent during New Year's Eve.

Dubai witnesses a massive influx of tourists during this annual festive season, which is usually the peak time for the local tourism sector with strong bookings for hotels, airlines and tour operators. Dubai has already surpassed its pre-pandemic tourist figures, reaching 12.4 million during January-September 2023. Therefore, industry players expect 2023 to be another record year in terms of reservations.

Abdulla Al Abdulla, chief operating officer and general manager of Central Hotels and Resorts, said reservations for the festive days are well underway.

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He said the group’s multiple properties across the emirate have recorded advanced booking between 19 per cent to 75 per cent in the last week of December.

“We have every reason to anticipate full occupancy, reaching 100 per cent, during both Christmas and New Year's Eve,” he said.

Surpassing last year’s figures

“With advanced bookings currently at 50 per cent and almost another full month to go, we are optimistic about achieving an exceptionally strong year-end performance for city hotels. This surge is mainly propelled by excitement and anticipation surrounding events and gigs taking place in the UAE over the next two months, which are attracting visitors from all over the world,” said Thomas Kurian, manager at Leva Hotels.

He says hotels will have a record-breaking holiday season as the next two months look very promising on the back of ongoing and scheduled events.

The increased demand and advanced bookings place city hotels in a favourable position and gives the hoteliers leverage to increase the room rates by 20 per cent compared to the same time last year, he added.

As 2023 festive season approach, there is a steady increase in occupancy at Shangri-La Dubai, located on Sheikh Zayed Road.

“With our exceptional view of the Burj Khalifa, we are quickly nearing full occupancy and anticipate selling out soon. We are expecting to be full from December 27, 2023 till January 2, 2024,” said Tarek Medhat, director of sales and marketing, Shangri-La Dubai.

Echoing his industry peers’ comments, Jan Hanak, managing director for Radisson Hotel Group in the UAE, Oman, Bahrain, and Qatar, said reservations have already begun for Christmas and New Year Eve.

“We are currently slightly ahead of last year's figures in terms of business on the books for the festive season. However, it's important to mention that, in the Dubai market, a significant portion of bookings tends to come in closer to the event dates,” he added.

Hanak also hopes a strong expectation of reaching 100 per cent occupancy levels during the Christmas and New Year's Eve period as demand for accommodations during this time is traditionally very high.

Where are they coming from?

Radisson Hotel Group managing director revealed that bookings for Christmas and New Year celebrations are coming from a diverse range of countries.

“Notably, the domestic market is showing strong demand. The United Kingdom, Germany, Scandinavia, Saudi Arabia, and India also contribute significantly to our bookings, reflecting the global appeal of our properties during the holiday season,” he said.

Abdulla Al Abdulla of Central Hotels and Resorts said the majority of bookings originate from prominent European and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) markets, including France, Germany, Netherlands, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Australia, Belgium and the United Kingdom.

Medhat added that the emirate, which is a global destination with its unique attractions, attracts guests from around the world during the festive seasons, thanks to Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) for making Dubai one of the world's top travel destinations.

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