x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Dubai records world's 'highest' guest increase

Hotels in Dubai recorded a 22 per cent rise in revenues for the first quarter despite a slowing worldwide economy.

A tourist on the beach taking photos of the Burj al Arab hotel in Dubai.
A tourist on the beach taking photos of the Burj al Arab hotel in Dubai.

Despite concerns that a slowing worldwide economy and fears over tighter visa restrictions in the UAE would curtail growth in the hospitality sector, hotels in Dubai recorded a 22 per cent rise in revenues for the first quarter. The Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) reported yesterday that hotel revenues in the emirate reached Dh4.26 billion (US$1.16bn) compared to Dh3.49bn during the same period last year.

The number of hotel and hotel apartment guests also rose seven per cent, to 1.891 million, in the first quarter compared to 1.769 million in the same quarter last year. "[This is] the highest guest increase percentage in the world," said the DTCM report. Dubai has been known in the hotel industry for having a relatively low statistical figure for the number of consecutive nights that guests spend in a hotel - an average of three nights, compared to nine in Egypt, for example. This year, however, hotels and hotel apartments in Dubai registered an 8.2 per cent increase in the average length of stay.

Also, the amount of money that an average individual guest spent per stay rose 17 per cent. Khalid Bin Sulayem, the director general of DTCM, said the overall number of consecutive guest nights during this period rose 10 per cent, to 6.07 million from 5.51 million during the same period last year. The number of operating hotel and hotel apartments was up nine per cent, to 475 from 437 in the first quarter of last year. Similarly, the number of occupied rooms jumped 12 per cent to 31,450 compared to 28,203 in the corresponding period last year.

There was a 20 per cent increase in the number of available hotel apartment rooms, which reached 12,046 compared to 10,080 during the same period last year. The positive numbers for the hotel industry in Dubai follows recent reports that tightened visa regulations for the UAE may reduce revenues in the local hospitality after they go into effect in August. Last month, however, the DTCM reassured the industry that these new regulations would not apply to most tourists.

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