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Dubai Tourism: Adaptability in play

Shady Elborno - Head of Macro Strategy
Published Date: 05 January 2022

 

As Omicron placed global COVID-19 recovery dynamics in flux, the earlier prospects of what looked like a clear and steady path to normalization are likely to see increasing headwinds. So far, all the tourism statistics for Dubai released through November, prior to the global onset of the Omicron variant, point to very robust recovery across key tourism metrics. The impact of Omicron remains to be seen however, as COVID numbers in the UAE spiked across the 2500 per day mark in early January (from lower than 100 per day just in October).

Hotel occupancy in Dubai surged to 85.7% November from 80.7% in October, and 67.2% in September according to data by STR Global.  Revenue per available room (RevPAR) was up a robust 15% m/m in November after a 54% m/m jump in October and a 10.2% m/m in September, marking the fourth straight m/m rise in RevPAR. The hotel sector in November benefited from a combination of factors lead by Expo 2020, improving Covid-19 metrics (pre-Omicron), a pick-up in international tourism footfall, and a busy schedule of events and conferences. 

The y/y metrics also improved in November. Hotel occupancy in Dubai reached 86%, up 29.9pp from a year earlier, and RevPAR was up a solid 232% y/y.  Dynamics in neighbouring Abu Dhabi also improved with hotel occupancy up-to 76.1% from 61.4% a year earlier, and RevPar improving by a solid 103% over November last year.   

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