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UAE hotels preparing for a V-shaped recovery

UAE hotels preparing for a V-shaped recovery
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Written by Harry Johnson

Arabian Travel Market Hotel Summit to discuss trends & key drivers for Middle East hotels in ‘new normal’

  • Hotels in the United Arab Emirates have put up a sterling performance, given the challenges of operating during the pandemic last year
  • Dubai is one of the safest cities in the world to visit with a wide range of precautionary measures in place to ensure the safety of tourists at every stage and touchpoint of their travel journey, from arrival to departure
  • According to STR data, the Middle East region was a top performer globally during 2020, with average occupancy of 45.9%

Recent hospitality industry reports and analysis published by STR and Colliers International, have revealed that hotels in the UAE have put up a sterling performance, given the challenges of operating during the pandemic last year.

To support the hotel industry still further during the vaccine rollout, Arabian Travel Market (ATM), which will take place in-person at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) 16-19 May 2021, is organizing a Hotel Summit on Tuesday 18th May.

The event will address and debate the trends and key drivers that will support the Middle East’s hotel sector’s recovery, as the vaccine rollout gathers momentum and herd immunity takes effect.

According to STR data, the Middle East region was a top performer globally during 2020, with average occupancy of 45.9%. One of best performing countries was the UAE with an average occupancy of 51.7% and an average daily rate (ADR) of $114.

Although these figures were 29.3% & 16.5% down Y-on-Y, given the challenges presented by the pandemic, it is a remarkable achievement and proves just how resilient the hotel sector is in the UAE and wider Middle East.

Furthermore, if we drill down on these figures, ADR in Fujairah and RAK actually rose last year by 7% and 1% respectively, compared with 2019 and over the New Year’s celebrations hotels in Dubai were running average occupancies of 76% with an ADR of $300.

Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME, Arabian Travel Market, said, “I am certain that many hoteliers in the Middle East are now preparing for a V-shaped recovery, especially with the successful rollout of the vaccine and the ensuing herd immunity.”

Indeed, more positives can be drawn from a recent YouGov luxury survey which revealed that more than half (52%) of the respondents said they were planning to take a domestic holiday or staycation during 2021 and a further 25% were planning to make a business trip, either domestically or internationally, with only 4% having no plans to travel anywhere in 2021.

“Moreover, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also indicated that British nationals may be allowed to travel without any restrictions as soon as June 21st, which, given their close ties, would be a major boost for business and leisure travel throughout the Middle East,” added Curtis.

Initially two sessions will take place at the Hotel Summit on ATM’s Global Stage, the first will address the changing roles of hotels, such as workations and changing guest expectations and the second discussion will look into the issue of enhancing the hospitality experience, while introducing technological innovation.

A further session will take place during ATM’s virtual event on Tuesday 25th May, when a panel of experts will examine whether wellness and sustainability trends, will be accelerated during the post-pandemic recovery.

Now in its 28th year and working in collaboration with DWTC and Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), the theme of the show will be ‘A new dawn for travel and tourism’ and the spotlight will be thrown onto the current state of the industry and more importantly, what the future holds. It will also look at the emerging trends and how innovation can drive the industry forward.

ATM 2021 will also play an integral role in Arabian Travel Week and for the first time, a new hybrid format will be in place. This means an additional virtual ATM will be organised to run the following week, which will complement the in-person event by accommodating visitors who may be unable to travel to Dubai. The inaugural ATM Virtual 2020 attracted 12,000 online attendees from 140 countries, over three days.

ATM 2021’s strategic partners include Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) as Destination Partner, Emaar Hospitality Group as Official Hotel Partner and Emirates as Official Airline Partner.