UAE: Dubai hotels report high occupancy rates ahead of Expo 2020

Dubai - Room rates are set to increase by 30 to 100 per cent before October 1

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Dhanusha Gokulan

Published: Mon 20 Sep 2021, 12:35 PM

Last updated: Tue 21 Sep 2021, 10:05 AM

Some hotels in Dubai are reporting occupancy rates of 90 per cent and over — a sign that guests, tourists and residents are returning to their pre-pandemic habits.

Moreover, the upcoming Expo 2020 Dubai, the world’s greatest show, is proving to be one of the primary motivators for the high occupancy levels in hotels.

In 2020, despite the pandemic, the tourism sector performed reasonably well as hotel establishments welcomed 14.8 million guests last year. Domestic tourism contributed Dh41 billion to the national economy last year, according to statistics by the World Tourism Organisation and Emirates Tourism Council.

Hoteliers Khaleej Times spoke to confirmed the increase in occupancy rates and said room prices are set to increase by 30 to 100 per cent before October 1.

The steep rise in room rates is attributed to the fact that prices in four-star hotels are well below the average, said Praveen Shetty, the chairman and managing director of the Fortune Group of Hotels.

“Currently, occupancy rates at our group of hotels are up by 70 per cent. Most of the travellers are transit passengers who are going to the United States, Canada and Saudi Arabia,” he said.

Dubai, due to its liberal travel policies, has become a significant transit hub.

“Travellers wishing to go to the US, UK and Canada, spend anywhere between five to 14 nights in the city and head over to their final destination,” Shetty said.

The Fortune Group of Hotels has seven properties all over Dubai, but Shetty said the one near the Expo 2020 site in Dubai Investments Park is reporting the highest occupancy — 100 per cent.

“This is followed by high demand in hotels in Bur Dubai, Deira and Qusais,” he added.

Shetty also said the room rates across the group would increase by 30 per cent before October 1.

“At present, room charges are anything between Dh150 to Dh300, depending on the locality and size of the room,” he said.

At least 80 per cent of the guests are from India and 20 per cent from Egypt. “In the case of Western travellers, we have high numbers coming in from Europe and Russia,” he said.

Mohammed Atif, executive assistant manager, Palazzo Versace Dubai, told Khaleej Times that the overall occupancy rates at the hotel during the month of September are the highest he has witnessed in the past five to six years.

“The overall demand during this time of the year is relatively low since this is when schools reopen and vacation ends. However, the occupancy rates this year has been amazing. We have closed our capacity at 90 per cent," he said.

Apart from demand from international tourists, other segments such as corporates, events, weddings and long-stays have also picked up.

“We have a huge increase coming in out of India for the wedding business. Our long-stay guests are from India, Europe, UK, and a diversified source of markets,” Atif said.

Furthermore, the ease in Covid-19 regulations and relaxed norms at restaurants are encouraging more people to stay at hotels.

Sajeev Joseph, assistant director of sales at the Flora Group of Hotels, also said the group has a 90 per cent occupancy rate across all three properties in their portfolio.

“Flora Creek, Flora Barsha and Flora Inn near Dubai Airport are all having 90 per cent occupancy rates. Given that the Covid-19 rules are relaxed, guests from Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and India are highest in number,” Joseph said.

The group is also hiking its room rates by October 1.

“Four-star hotel rates are expected to go from Dh150 to Dh300 in the days to come,” he said.


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Shanu Varughese, complex director of revenue management at Millennium Place Barsha Heights, said, “With travel restrictions being lifted in the past few weeks, occupancy is on the rise, and we have been seeing more full occupancies compared to May 2021 – August 2021. Another reason is Expo 2020, which starts on October 1, due to which occupancies have been more robust.”

He added, “Our significant margin of arrivals is from Latin America. We receive many guests from the CIS countries, Saudi Arabia and other European countries, depending on the seasonality. We are running a special package — stay and play — whereby guests get free access to any of the four Dubai Parks attractions when they stay with us as well.”

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