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27 February 2024

Hotels ride the DSF wave

By VM Sathish

Hotels across the emirate are enjoying excellent occupancy rates because of an increase in number of tourists who are flowing in for the Dubai Shopping Festival.

Most hotels and hotel apartments have increased room rates by an average 20-30 per cent, taking advantage of the situation.

Jaya Rao, Holidays Manager, Al Ghaith Al Moosa Travel Agency, said: "Of the 45,000 hotels and travel services worldwide listed on Hoojoozat.com, an online hotel booking site in the Middle East, Dubai hotels have received a good number of bookings. GCC tourists are also flocking to Dubai for DSF.”

Faisal Abdul Rahman, Assistant General Manager, Dunes Group of Hotel Apartments, which has two hotel apartments, said: “DSF is having a positive impact. Visitors from the GCC aree also on the rise as schools are closed. Both our hotel apartments have been full since DSF began."

"Exhibitions and trade fairs are also luring in tourists. We hope the dull period for the hospitality sector is over. Hotel apartment rates have gone up by 30 per cent from the 2009 levels," he added.

However, there are some hotels slashing rates to attract vistors. In fact, some of the four-and-five-star hotels have reduced rates. They could revise it back during the peak summer months, when increased leisure activities abound.

Ram Buxani, Chairman of Cosmos Group, said: “It is a good indication that most of the hotels have increased their rates by 30-40 per cent due to increased number of business travellers and DSF tourists. The increased number of foreign tourists, especially GCC family tourists, are visible in the shops and shopping malls.”

Douglas McWilliams, an analyst at the Centre for Economics and Business Research, was quoted in a recent report as saying that room rates fell in 2010 across the Middle East and West Africa. “However, more recent data has pointed to recovery. For example in the final quarter of 2010, room rates in Dubai were up by 9.5 per cent year-on-year,” he was quoted by Air and Business Travel News.

MP Abdul Karim, General Manager, Alta travel Agency - General Sales Agent for Saudi Airlines - said DSF has brought many GCC passengers to the UAE. “We have received very good booking inquiries through our newly introduced Hoojoozat.com hotel booking website."

In fact, he said, they are getting inquiries for the next holiday season.  Similarly, outbound booking is also good. “We are offering 15 per cent discount on the normal hotel rates, if the booking is made through Hoojoozat.com."
Rates fall in Abu Dhabi

Meanwhile, according to a recent survey, hotel rates in Abu Dhabhi have plummeted by at least 25 per cent.

Previously ranked second on the list of 75 cities with the highest room rates around the world, Abu Dhabi fell to 19th place after the average price of a bed dropped from £223 to £168.

According to HRG’s annual hotel survey, the decline reflected a slump in hotel rates across the region in 2010, according to HRG’s annual hotel survey.

The Middle East experienced the greatest regional decrease in average room rates, said the report and added that Dubai recorded a fall in rates of five per cent in 2010 compared to 2009 and Doha a drop of 10 per cent.