Dubai hotel occupancy rates rise with expo countdown and travel restrictions easing

Dubai hotels saw an increase in occupancy rates in September, boosted by the easing of travel restrictions and the Expo 2020 countdown in October.

The average occupancy rate rose to 67.2% in September, jumping 51% from the same month in 2020, according to hotel data and analytics specialist STR. September’s performance is also a monthly increase from occupancy rates of 58% in August and 53.9% in July.

“Seasonal dynamics and global travel bottlenecks that contributed to some of the balmy summer are giving way to an improved travel environment through a combination of less restrictive travel, Expo 2020, and weather conditions. seasonally improved, “Shady Elborno, head of macro strategy at Emirates NBD Research, said in a report on the tourism sector on October 19.

“These factors are expected to continue to support the tourism market in the first quarter of next year, helping to put the market back on a more normalized basis after the impact of the pandemic on this economically important sector,” he added. .

Dubai hotel revenue per available room (RevPar) in September – a key performance metric calculated by multiplying a hotel’s average daily rate by its occupancy rate – more than doubled, up 117 % year-on-year, at Dh271.85 ($ 74), according to STR data.

The city welcomed 2.85 million international overnight visitors from January to July 2021, according to government data from Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing.

Dubai was one of the first cities in the world to reopen its markets and businesses in July 2020 and continues to remain open, while ensuring strict compliance with health and safety measures. The United Arab Emirates also has one of the highest per capita vaccination rates against Covid-19 in the world. Covid-19 cases in the United Arab Emirates this week fell below 100 for the first time in 565 days, official figures show.

“This bodes well for a possible easing of restrictions with other countries, which will likely translate into increased inflows of tourists with gateways where these travel restrictions are relaxed,” according to the travel industry outlook. ‘Emirates NBD, Dubai’s largest lender.

The removal of the UAE from the UK’s red list in August, followed by the recognition of vaccines administered by the UAE from October, which allow travel between the two countries without the need for isolation at home, “bodes well” to travel with this key source market, it said.

“In addition, the easing of travel restrictions with India, the most important source market for Dubai, is another factor supporting the influx of tourists, as is Saudi Arabia,” the report said.

In addition, Expo 2020 Dubai has registered more than 700,000 visits since October 1.

From October 1 to 17, a total of 771,477 paid visits were recorded. The number of visits increased by 12% in one week, according to the daily briefing of the World’s Fair. Expo 2020 has a target of 25 million visitors for the duration of the exhibition.

“We expect the global improvement in tourism dynamics, the ongoing easing of two travel restrictions between the UAE and other countries, weather improvements and the approach of seasonal vacations to play well. in favor of Expo 2020 and the overall dynamics of tourism in Dubai in the near term, ”said Mr. Elborno.

Dubai’s non-oil sector continued to grow for the 10th consecutive month and ended the third quarter at its highest three-month average since late 2019, with the Emirate’s Purchasing Managers Index standing at 51.5. A reading above 50 indicates economic expansion while a reading below indicates contraction.

Confidence in the travel and tourism sector peaked in five months in September and exceeded that seen in the rest of the non-oil sector, according to IHS Markit’s Dubai PMI. Travel and tourism businesses saw a sustained recovery in sales in September, which some respondents linked to increased demand in the run-up to Expo 2020.

Update: October 21, 2021, 10:29 a.m.

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