Report shows Abu Dhabi, Dubai lone bright spots

Hotels in Abu Dhabi reported a surge in occupancy during October while hotels in Dubai were as full as they were in 2007, according to the latest HotStats survey of full-service hotels in six Middle Eastern cities by TRI Hospitality Consulting, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Abu Dhabi registered the largest increase in occupancy in the region, growing 9.7 percentage points to 82.8% in October. However, the capital city saw its room rates drop to US$156.89, closing the month 18.6% below the same period last year.

Dubai registered the largest RevPAR growth — 13.1% — among the six cities surveyed, achieving RevPAR of US$196.85 for the month. Hotels in the city saw occupancy levels soar to 87.3%, TRI reported.

“Occupancies across regional destinations typically improve from October as the region experiences the exit of hot summer months and the onset of cooler weather conditions,” said Peter Goddard, managing director of TRI Hospitality Consulting in Dubai. “This is when these markets see the leisure demand pick up and large commercial centres witness an increase in corporate and MICE demand, which benefits major MICE destinations such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi.”

More negative news in Egypt, Saudi Arabia

Egypt saw an escalation in tension during October as military action lead to the death of 26 protesters, culminating in the resignation of the deputy prime minister in the interim cabinet. Consequently, hotel occupancies in Cairo remained subdued at 47.4% for the month, 34.4 percentage points lower than the previous year, although average rates have remained relatively stable at US$118.46.

Hotels in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, reported an occupancy of 63.3% and average rates of US$56.93 for the month, lower by 29.5 percentage points and 24.8%, respectively, compared to the same period in 2010.

Jeddah and Riyadh, the two major markets in Saudi Arabia, saw occupancies dip marginally during October, TRI reported. In Jeddah, occupancy dropped 2 percentage points to 73.8% while average rates posted an increase of 8.5% and stood at US$196.08. Riyadh, the capital city and a major regional commercial hub, achieved an occupancy of 69%, 2.4 percentage points below the previous year. Average room rates in Riyadh remained relatively stable at US$274.97.