Dubai: Hotels in Dubai have reported a strong double-digit increase in revenue per available room (RevPAR) while those in Abu Dhabi have continued on their downward spiral in the first half of the year, according to the latest report by Ernst & Young.

Year to date results of the latest Middle East Hotel Benchmark Survey Report reveal that Dubai hotels recorded a 12.7 per cent increase in RevPAR, while hotels in Abu Dhabi recorded a 11.1 per cent decrease in RevPar.

In addition, average room rates (ARR) in Dubai for the month of June were also up by 10.9 per cent compared to those in the capital’s hotels which saw rates down by 12.8 per cent.

Yousuf Wahbah, Partner and Head of Mena (Middle East and North Africa) Transaction Real Estate, said that Dubai hotels had continued to demonstrate a year on year growth, despite having entered the typical low season for tourist travel in most of the MENA region, which will last until the onset of Eid or the beginning of September.

“Even with a negligible increase in occupancy rates compared to last year and despite the fact that hundreds more rooms have been added since June 2011, the overall RevPar [for Dubai hotels] has shown an impressive 11.5 per cent increase since then,” he told Gulf News.

“This is largely on the back of room rates increasing by more than 10 per cent since last year and also due to the increased efficiency in operations in Dubai hotels. A true test of their efficiency will be more evident in the RevPar numbers during Ramadan.”

Elsewhere in the Middle East, hotels in Manama recorded the highest increase in year to date RevPAR with rates at 47.6 per cent, followed by those in Amman with RevPAR rates at 46.5 per cent. The highest increase in regional occupancy rates for the month of June was seen in Egypt’s Sharm Al Shaikh at 13 per cent.

“This is largely attributed to increased travel to Egypt’s seaside resort destination not only from local Egyptians but also due to an influx of tourists from the other parts of the MENA region and Europe” said Wahbah.

On the other hand, Beirut, according to Wahbah, has shown the largest decline in year-on-year occupancy rates in the MENA region. He attributes its hotel occupancy drop of six per cent to the developments around the city and the travel advisories issued against it.

“One can attribute this drop to be the result of the ‘contagion effect,’ and that country stability has become a key consideration for travellers coming to the MENA region. The declines in occupancy in Beirut hotels can be expected to continue as long as the situation in the immediate region surrounding it remains difficult,” he pointed out.

[Rohma Sadaqat is a trainee at Gulf News]