The first quarter of 2012 saw Dubai hotels performing  better than the corresponding period last year as room yields and occupancy jumped, benefitting from the Arab Spring , according to the latest hotel benchmark report by Ernst & Young (E&Y) .
While RevPAR  (revenue per available room — an industry benchmark for performance) improved nine per cent to $242 (Dh888.87) over the first quarter last year, average room rates (ARR) also jumped 6.2 per cent to $274 compared to $258 last year. Occupancy, meanwhile, jumped by two per cent over the same period last year to 88 per cent, according to the report.
Occupancy rises in March
March alone saw occupancy increase 3.9 per cent to 89.3 per cent over March 2011 while ARR for the month went up 5.8 per cent to $280.
“These numbers represent milestones in the story of the growth of Dubai as a global tourism hub . It is unlikely that we will see monthly hospitality sector numbers decline this year and they are likely to form the basis of growth for the coming years ,” said Yousuf Wahbah, E&Y’s Partner and Head of MENA Transactions Real Estate.
He added that Dubai hotels have “increased their efficiency and profitability levels” as the RevPAR for March 2012 came in at 10.7 per cent higher than in the same month last year. Commenting on the effect of the Arab Spring, Wahbah told Gulf News that the fallout from regional developments such as the Arab Spring has benefited Dubai with inflows of capital and businesses.
“The emirate has succeeded in solidifying its position as the best place in the region for business and leisure and it will reap the reward in the coming years,” he said. Abu Dhabi hotels, on the other hand, suffered a decline of 16 per cent in RevPAR at $174 for the first three months of the year over the same period last year when RevPAR was $207.
While occupancy for hotels in the capital remained unchanged at 81 per cent, ARR declined 15.5 per cent to $214 from $253 in first quarter 2011, according to the report.