The 1 October opening of Dubai’s Expo 2020 — it was delayed a year due to the Covid-19 — has been welcomed by the emirate’s hoteliers who are already celebrating a resilient response to the pandemic.
August 2021 data from STR shows an occupancy of 58.4%, a figure not far short of pre-pandemic occupancy figures in August 2019 (67.9%) .
An average daily rate of AED374 (US$102) in August this year also compared favourably with the August 2019 figure of AED381.
Revpar (Revenue Per Available Room) in August 2021 was AED218, as against the pre-pandemic August 2019 figure of AED259.
Philip Wooller, STR area director Middle East & Africa, said Dubai has been one of the top performing global markets since the beginning of the pandemic “due in part to a lack of consecutive lockdowns and major disruption to day-to-day life”.
“An early vaccination rollout has also helped matters,” he added. “As a result, there has been a solid perception of safety coupled with the fact that, traditionally, Dubai is one of the favourite destinations of high-net-worth individuals and many were able to temporarily visit the market during the pandemic.”
Overall, the UAE’s tourism sector recorded an occupancy rate of 62% in the first half of this year.
Chairman of the Emirates Tourism Council, Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, said the positive results shed light on the diverse destinations housed by the seven emirates, and the continuous development of UAE’s hospitality sector. He said results were of great relevance in light of the tightening of travel restrictions in some major tourism markets around the world due to the impact of Covid-19.
An example of the downturn in hotel business has been highlighted by results in Australia where in August, major markets Melbourne and Sydney reported year-over-year Revpar declines of 55.9% and 47.8%, respectively.