x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

JLo has Dubai hoteliers singing with joy as bookings hit high note

Many hotels reported full occupancy as fans descended on Dubai to see the Jennifer Lopez concert and Rory McIlroy at the DP World Tour Championship.

Room bookings hit a high ahead of tonight’s Jennifer Lopez concert in Dubai. Kevin Winter / Getty Images / AFP
Room bookings hit a high ahead of tonight’s Jennifer Lopez concert in Dubai. Kevin Winter / Getty Images / AFP

Dubai hoteliers were singing for joy this weekend as Jennifer Lopez and Rory McIlroy helped to fill accommodation across the city with music and sports fans.

Many hotels reported full occupancy as thousands of fans descended on Dubai for an event-packed weekend.

The laterooms.com website, which lists 308 hotels in the city, showed that 106 of them were full last night. The sold-out JLo concert and the DP World Tour Championship drew hordes of visitors in the latest confidence boost for the rebounding hospitality industry.

“We’re fully closed out this weekend … with concertgoers staying at our hotel,” said Zaid Al Adham, the marketing manager at Arjaan by Rotana in Media City.

At the nearby Radisson Blu, guests were rushing to check in to their rooms by mid-afternoon, before the concert later in the day.

“We have a very good view from here,” said a restaurant manager at the hotel. “I don’t even need to go to the concert. I can just watch it from here.”

The hotel and hospitality market in the Emirates is forecast to grow at a rate of more than 10 per cent for the next four years, outpacing growth in the overall economy.

Revenues from the hotel and hospitality market will reach US$4.9 billion (Dh17.99bn) this year, up from $4.5bn last year, and is forecast to grow to $7.5bn by 2016, according to Alpen Capital’s latest GCC industry report, released last month.

Dubai hoteliers have benefited from a surge in bookings since the start of last year amid the Arab Spring uprisings. Many tourists who would typically travel to popular destinations such as Egypt, Tunisia and Syria, visited the emirate instead. High-profile concerts and sporting events are helping to bolster hospitality revenues that dipped sharply following the 2008-09 financial crisis.

“We are full this weekend. We have a large number of groups and tourists,” said Haitham Mattar, the vice president of sales and marketing for Hilton Worldwide, which has a hotel in Dubai Marina at Jumeirah Beach Residence.

Other hotels also reported a jump in bookings.

“The parachuting championships, the preparations for National Day, the concerts, it’s all playing its own role,” said Michael Zager, the general manager of the Ramada at Jumeirah Beach Residence.

“We are picking up quite a lot for the weekend. We are not at 100 per cent full but we are at very high percentage occupancy.”