Top hotels selling out over New Year period as tourists flock to Dubai

Cost of room nights peak as hotels get ready to cash in

Zubair Khan is travelling down from to spend New Year’s Eve in Dubai. However, plans went for a toss in hope of staying at The Address Downtown Dubai to catch a ringside view of the Burj fireworks when he discovered the hotel was completely sold out on an online booking engine.

The closest hotel of choice for Khan was The Ritz Carlton DIFC, which is averaging Dh2,500 per night for the peak period.

However, it is not just the Downtown and neighbouring DIFC locales that is experiencing a surge in room rates and bookings.

A search through popular engine such as Booking.com indicates a vast majority of five-star properties in the city are already sold out over the New Year holidays, with some even extending into the first few days of January to possibly take advantage of the 18th edition of the Dubai Shopping Festival, which kicks off on the third of the month.

The average room night for a five-star property in the city has also crossed Dh1,000 per night online, with the Dubai International Terminal Hotel emerging as the only name that remains below that figure during this period, at Dh870 per night for a room only.

Popular hotel properties such as The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Spa are averaging at approximately Dh3,700 per night over the NYE period, while neighbouring Habtoor Grand Resort & Spa peaks at Dh5,800 per night.

Meanwhile, forget four, but even three-star hotels such as the Karama Hotel is charging over Dh1,200 per night.

Many are attributing this healthy influx in the emirate’s hospitality industry as a direct result of the seasonal holidays and the attractive New Year parties and entertainment packages that are up for grabs.

Josef Kufer, Chief Operating Officer, Emaar Hospitality Group told Emirates 24|7: “With the Downtown Dubai New Year’s Eve Gala billed to bring in an unprecedented spectacle, and the various hotels in Downtown Dubai marking the festive and New Year’s season with unmatched offerings, there is strong buzz globally in terms of visitor participation.

“With over a million visitors expected for the grand event, demand for hospitality services is also robust.

“We have recorded strong occupancy levels at our hotels in Dubai led by the city’s regional hub status as a tourism and business destination.”

Emaar Hospitality records the majority of its visitors to the hail from the GCC countries, Europe, CIS countries, Russia and the Indian Subcontinent, with 2012 also recording strong visitor arrivals from China.

Meanwhile, Mövenpick Hotel, Jumeirah Beach, which is another popular locale for tourists, reported a year-on-year organic growth of nearly

Sathis Aravinda, Director of Revenue at the Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach said: “Traditionally holidays season itself impact positively on business flow. However, festive events in Dubai and DSF certainly support the demand well.”

He added: “We have seen an organic growth of three to five per cent during festive season comparing to last year, with the main three feeder markets to being European, GCC and CIS.”

Even organic hospitality chain, the Rotana Group, has stated that it continues to be a busy December for its 15 hotel properties across the emirate “and will be full during the New Year’s Eve week,” according to Vicky Varfis, Corporate Vice President – Sales and Revenue, Rotana.

She added: “Our average occupancy in Dubai during the Christmas week and New Year’s Eve week has improved by 10 per cent versus 2011.”

Earlier this month, an airline survey by UK’s British Airways revealed that Dubai has recorded a higher influx of tourists this year, as festive cheer brought planeloads of people over for a sunnier Christmas.

The news comes as the city featured in the airline’s top five long-haul destinations for Christmas travel, as European tourists flew to sunnier climes to escape the chilly northern hemisphere winter.

“Our customers’ favourite long-haul destinations from London this festive season are New York, Miami, Cape Town, Hong Kong and Dubai, which shows that, with the exception of New York, people are looking for a warmer way to spend Christmas and New Year,” said Paolo De Renzis, Area Commercial Manager Middle East and Central Asia, in a statement.

Also, in a recent poll by the airline, more than 2,660 users nominated the overseas destinations they most want to visit in 2013 and Dubai was named in the top five.

Featured alongside Dubai were New York, Australia, Hong Kong and Rio de Janeiro.

De Renzis, said earlier: “Dubai has long been a destination of choice for Europeans looking for sun, sand and shopping, while at the same time, Dubai residents are looking for new cities and countries to discover.”

Many are also attributing this influx in tourist numbers to the safe haven offered in Dubai and the UAE at large in wake of the regional strife that has plagued popular neighbouring destinations, included Egypt, Lebanon and Syria.

Mövenpick’s Aravinda said: “The regional conditions are definitely representing a challenge for the incoming markets.

“In general, neighbouring instability had helped Dubai to maintain these healthy demand and positive trend. But, it is not the only reason.

“Dubai has been well attracted as a key touristic destination in GCC, due to its skyscrapers, leisure/business activities and attractions, been great stopover hub between Asia & Europe etc.”

Varfis agreed, saying: ““This is simply due to the security in the UAE, great weather, instability in other regional tourist markets and the variety of leisure activities which are enticing guests from different countries to visit.”

“Today, Dubai has consolidated its position globally as a preferred tourism destination. A safe haven for tourists and businesses, the city’s central location and easy access for over 2.5 billion people, only a four hour flying distance, have established Dubai’s position as the must-visit destination,” added Emaar’s Kufer.

He added: “Additionally, Dubai being named as the ‘IEFA World Festival and Event City 2012’, also highlights the city’s diverse events offerings including the Dubai Shopping Festival.”
 

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