Eid Holidays: Dubai readies for a million tourists

Even as UAE residents complain about the lack of private sector holidays for Eid Al Adha, the fact that residents in some of the other Gulf nations will be getting an extended break means that Dubai will see a major influx of tourists beginning this weekend for at least the next couple of weeks. 

Public sector employees in in Saudi Arabia are getting an extended break (16 days) while those in Qatar too will enjoy a lavish break (10 days). With a number of other popular regional destinations such as

Egypt and Syria out of bound for many families and individuals due to perceived political instability in those countries, safe haven Dubai is one destination that will be on a majority of tourists’ itinerary this holiday season. 

Popular hotels and resorts in the emirate are already booked out, with no room available for less than Dh1,600 on Friday, October 26, 2012, among the city’s beachside hotels (four- and five-star hotels), according to an impromptu search conducted by Emirates 24|7 on Bookings.com, an online hotel reservations agency. 

The same search with the same criteria (room for two adults, beachside, 4 and 5-start hotels) conducted for just three days in advance – for October 23, 2012 – throws up a stark contrast, with seaview rooms available for as low as Dh649. 

Sources believe that the number of tourists descending on Dubai during this Eid break could easily surpass the million-mark. “Eid holidays typically attract heavy visitor traffic to Dubai as visitors from the neighbouring GCC countries gravitate towards the city as it offers a wide variety of options for them to spend their long holiday,” said Peter Goddard, Managing Director of TRI Hospitality Consulting in Dubai, in a recent report on the emirate’s hospitality sector. 

Interestingly, with the ongoing Gitex Technology Week, which follows the very popular Gitex shopper, there are already a number of visitors in the emirate. Add to this a whole host of celebrations planned over a 16-day period (October 18 – November 2) to mark Eid in Dubai, and it becomes obvious that Dubai hotels stand to make windfall gains on room rentals during these coming few weeks, just as they did in August, during Eid-al-Fitr holidays.

The TRI report showed that Dubai hotels benefited from the surge in demand on the back of Eid-al-Fitr holidays and, as regional sentiment continues to improve, prompting more Gulf residents to travel and shop around, the emirate will end up as a large beneficiary during the Eid-al-Adha holidays as well. 

“Dubai thrived and profited from the spike in leisure demand brought forward by Eid-al-Fitr,” said Goddard. Occupancy in Dubai increased 8.7 percentage points to 64 per cent and Average Room Rate increased by more than a fifth (20.4 per cent) to $204.93 (Dh752.70) on the back of a surge in demand from the regional and international travellers visiting Dubai on the back of Eid-al-Fitr holidays, the consulting firm revealed. 

The growth in occupancy and rate resulted in 39.4 per cent growth in Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR) to $131.12 (Dh481.60) for Dubai hotels. According to TRI, the increase in hotel demand was evident with Dubai International Airport witnessing a 20 per cent increase in passengers in August compared to the same period last year with the airport handling 4.85 million passengers. 

“In August, Dubai hosted special events and promotions including the ‘Eid in Dubai’ festival, which attracted large number of regional travellers to the city, and rightfully winning the IFEA’s ‘World Festival and Event City 2012’ award for a second time. The growth in demand was seen primarily in the FIT, leisure and conference segments, boosting banqueting revenues up six fold driven by weddings and events,” TRI said in the statement accompanying the report. 

The increase in occupancy also boosted the Total Revenue per Available Room (TRevPAR) in Dubai hotels by almost a third (29.2 per cent) to $239.10 (Dh878.21), driving Gross Operating Profit Per Available Room (GOPPAR) up manifold to $39.54 (Dh145.23).

 

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