x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Gulf interest in European holidays soars

Saudi and UAE guests drive the demand for European hotels over Eid, according to HotelsCombined.com.

London is among those destinations in Europe benefiting from a significant increase in interest from Arab tourists. Peter Dench / Getty Images
London is among those destinations in Europe benefiting from a significant increase in interest from Arab tourists. Peter Dench / Getty Images

Travellers from the UAE and wider Arabian Gulf drove a big rise in interest in European destinations during the last few days of Ramadan and Eid, says an online hotel price comparison website.

With enquiries about European destinations up this month over the same period last year, demand could be up 45 per cent, says Amer Al Halabi, the regional manager for the Middle East and North Africa for HotelsCombined.

In some cases the expected rise in the number of tourists to overseas destinations has also pushed up hotel room rates.

Some of the demand for Europe - and Dubai - as destinations for Middle East travellers is fuelled by the continued unrest in other parts of the region, including Syria and Egypt, Mr Al Halabi said.

"All these destinations where the travellers with big families would go are unavailable."

Most Middle East guests looking towards Europe are from Saudi Arabia, followed by the UAE, Kuwait and Qatar.

The top destination is London, closely followed by Paris and Germany, including Munich, Cologne and Hamburg, according to HotelsCombined.

The average length of stay in London is for five to seven nights.

Anticipating the summer demand, "hotels in London increased their room rates two months ago", Mr Al Halabi said.

In June, the average room rate in London was £163.29 (Dh928.25) compared with £157.12 during the same period last year, according to TRI Hospitality Consulting's HotStats index.

The average occupancy for that month was 88.9 per cent, up from 82.3 per cent from June last year.

Middle East travellers are also the biggest spenders among tourists in the British capital city.

The average spend per stay per room was almost four times higher for guests from the region at Dh12,443.31 as against the global average of Dh3,609.06, according to HotelsCombined.com.

In fact, hotels in the affluent London neighbourhood of Marylebone - which features luxury properties such as The Montcalm and The Churchill Hyatt Regency - were the most searched-for online by Middle East travellers for the second year running, said HotelsCombined.

Paris came second with an average spend per stay per room of Dh6,614.27.

Hotels along the Champs-Élysées received the most number of hits from Middle East guests.

Dubai had its share of the demand from other Middle East countries, too.

The minimum length of stay in Dubai is for five to seven days.

"We rarely see demand for one to two nights' stay in Dubai," Mr Al Halabi says. "The demand was huge this year during the last days of Ramadan and Eid, especially from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait."

The average spending by travellers to Dubai per stay per room is Dh4,962.70, according to HotelsCombined.com.

 

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