Global Hotel Alliance, the world’s largest group of independent hotel brands, reported a 68 per cent increase in room revenue in the first nine months of the year compared with the same period in 2021, reaching 84 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.
Total revenue generated by the 22 million members of its GHA Discovery loyalty programme reached more than $900 million as the travel industry continues to recover from the coronavirus pandemic’s impact, UAE-based GHA said.
"A combination of higher average rates and a 20 per cent increase in average length of stay globally from January to September versus the same period in 2021, driven by pent-up demand for leisure travel being unleashed, have contributed to the performance boost," the alliance said.
The UAE, the Maldives and Thailand were found to be the top three countries driving growth in the January to September period.
The most-visited cities for GHA Discovery members were Dubai, with a 48 per cent growth in stays over 2021, followed by Singapore and Bangkok.
“Our 2022 performance to date has exceeded all expectations, not only demonstrating travel’s enduring attraction, as it bounces back from the pandemic, but the success of our growth strategy, underpinned by the reinvention of GHA Discovery and the addition of new hotel brand partners to our alliance,” said GHA chief executive Chris Hartley.
Dubai welcomed about 8.1 million international visitors in the first seven months of the year, an almost threefold increase compared with a year ago, surpassing the total for all of 2021, according to government data. The emirate, whose tourism sector has recovered significantly from the pandemic, hosted 7.28 million visitors in 2021.
The tourism sector’s revenue exceeded Dh19 billion ($5.17bn) during the first half of this year and the total number of hotel guests in the same period reached 12 million — an increase of 42 per cent, government data showed.
The Emirates is also gearing up for an influx of guests during the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar, which will begin in November. The sporting event is expected to bring a major boom to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, with many hotels expecting near full occupancy during November and December.
Despite ongoing disruption to air travel and the effect of pandemic-related restrictions, more than 60 per cent of GHA Discovery revenues came from international stays, with this proportion growing strongly over the summer months, GHA said.
The highest-spending international travellers came from the US ($76m), the UK ($71m) and Germany ($60m), representing more than a quarter of total revenues.
August proved to be the alliance’s second strongest-performing month, led by travel to destinations in Europe and Asia, delivering revenues just shy of March 2019’s record performance, it said.
Total GHA Discovery member stays rose 74 per cent annually in the third quarter, with the most popular destination countries for cross-border summer travel being Spain, the US, Germany, Italy and Thailand.
Meanwhile, the most visible signs of a post-pandemic travel rebound during the nine-month period were reported for markets such as Phuket and Bangkok in Thailand, with 535 per cent and 345 per cent growth in revenues respectively, compared with same period in 2021.
This was followed by Honolulu in Hawaii with 305 per cent revenue growth and London, UK, with 300 per cent growth, GHA said.
“With the leisure travel rebound accelerating into Q4, business travel steadily on the up, evidenced in revenues from our major corporate accounts recovering to 81 per cent of 2019 levels by the end of Q3 ... we are confident of a positive outlook for the full-year 2022 and heading into 2023,” Mr Hartley said.