Dubai: Dubai hotels and hotel apartments recorded Dh9.8 billion in revenue in the first half of 2012, marking a 22 per cent over the same period last year, according to the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM).

Guest numbers in the emirate’s hotels and hotel apartments, meanwhile, posted a 10 per cent increase to 5.027 million guests in the January-June period over the corresponding period a year earlier, the tourism body said in a statement on Monday.

Similarly, guestnights of both Dubai hotels and hotel apartments reached 19.2 million in the first half, up 18 per cent from the period last year..

The number of Dubai hotel rooms, meanwhile, increased to 54,221 in first half of 2012 as against 52,897 in the same period a year earlier, DTCM said.

Further, while the average hotel room occupancy rate in Dubai stood at 82 per cent in first-half of 2012 against 76 per cent in the same period last year, the average hotel room rate witnessed a five per cent increase in the period to reach Dh601, against Dh570 in the last year period.

The numbers for the first half were revealed by Khalid Bin Sulayem, , DTCM’s Director General, on the sidelines of the annual Natalie Tours Congress which kicked off in Dubai on Monday, focusing on ways to boost tourism relationship between Dubai and Russia. Hailing bilateral relationships between the two, Bin Sulayem said Russia is one the most important tourist markets for Dubai.

Natasha Vorobieva, CEO and GM - Natalie Tours, said in a statement that the tours company attracts some “150,000 Russian tourists” to the UAE on an annual basis, of which “65 per cent go to Dubai and 35 per cent to the other six emirates”.

She added that Natalie Tours expects to attract some additional 40 per cent tourists to Dubai from Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan in 2013.

Echoing similar view is Ghassan Al Aridi, CEO, Alpha Tours, who said that Russian tourists top the list of the most spending tourists worldwide. “Alpha Tours has managed to attract around 120,000 Russian tourists in the first nine months of 2012 compared to over 75,000 in 2011,” he said in a statement.