x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Hotels empty out as guests go home for Ramadan

Hotels have seen a slump in guest numbers as Ramadan coincides with the low season of summer.

Hotels in the UAE have experienced sharp declines in occupancy levels as GCC residents return home for Ramadan.

With Ramadan falling at the start of August, and the summer being traditionally a low season for the UAE, business has slumped, hoteliers say. Last month, hotels had an influx of GCC tourists who took their holidays before the start of the holy month.

"For the whole month of August, as it is Ramadan, the projected occupancy is 60 per cent," said Wael El Behi, the executive assistant manager at Ramada Downtown Dubai. He said the hotel's average occupancy last month was 90 per cent, but was now about 70 per cent.

"[Last month] Dubai was a magnet for many GCC families because of the situation in many other Arab countries," said Mustafa Ainen, the general manager of the Media Rotana hotel.

"August is going to be quieter than any month of the year. European tourists, it's too hot for them. "

Arshad Hussain, the director of sales and marketing at the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr hotel in Abu Dhabi , agreed. "There is less corporate [trade] and business in the city," said. "We identified this trend a few months ago and launched … packages to attract UAE expat guests."

rbundhun@thenational.ae