Dubai hotels are experiencing a "noticeable jump" in occupancy reservations as the emirate gears up to accommodate visitors for global events, according to data by CoStar Group, the parent company of hotel analytics provider STR.
The emirate will host several global events in the coming weeks that are expected to attract an influx of international visitors to the city.
These include the Dubai Airshow on November 13, the International Civil Aviation Organisation's Conference on Aviation and Alternative Fuels on November 20 and the Cop28 UN climate summit at the end of the month.
As of October 30, occupancy on the books for the Dubai Airshow (November 13-17) was 58.3 per cent and 59.1 per cent for November 15 and November 16, respectively, according to CoStar.
In comparison, occupancy levels for those dates last year were 54.7 per cent and 53.1 per cent, respectively.
“As one of the most popular and prominent commercial aviation events in the world, the Dubai Airshow has always been a great demand source for Dubai hotels,” said Kostas Nikolaidis, STR’s account executive for Middle East and Africa.
“There is a plethora of top-tier events on the Dubai calendar year after year, and the air show is no exception.”
The UN summit Cop28, which runs from November 30 to December 12, is expected to bring more than 70,000 visitors to the emirate from around the world. Global leaders will meet in Dubai to tackle the escalating climate emergency during the conference.
Dubai showed its highest December occupancy on the books for December 1 (43.7 per cent), and December 2 (44.2 per cent) – the second and third days of Cop28, CoStar data showed.
Comparing with the same period in the previous year, the metrics were lower, standing at 30.8 per cent and 29.4 per cent, respectively.
“Cop28 combined with UAE National Day [December 2] and other events taking place during the busy winter period will ensure the city is buzzing with activity,” Mr Nikolaidis said.
“Over 40 per cent of all hotel rooms are already booked for the first few days of Cop as well as New Year’s Eve.”
Hoteliers are expecting to see a similar pattern emerge on New Year's Eve, traditionally a busy night for the industry in Dubai.
Dubai International Airport raised its full-year 2023 passenger forecast in August to 85 million, from an earlier projection of 83.6 million, and is inching towards its pre-coronavirus levels.
Dubai International Airport is connected to 255 destinations in 104 countries and serves 90 international airlines.
The number of international visitors to Dubai exceeded the pre-Covid-19 pandemic levels in the first half of 2023 as the emirate's hospitality and tourism sector posted a record performance.
International visits to Dubai rose 20 per cent on an annual basis in the January to June period, the Dubai Media Office said in August, citing the latest data from Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism.
The emirate welcomed 8.55 million international visitors during the period, the best first-half performance yet, exceeding the pre-pandemic figure of 8.36 million tourists in the first half of 2019.
In Dubai, hotels' revenue per available room (RevPar) growth is forecast at 1.6 per cent year on year for 2023, according to Kelsey Fenerty, analytics manager at STR.
This growth has been largely driven by occupancy, which is expected to return to its long-run average this year even as the full-year average daily rate (ADR) has declined relative to 2022, she said previously.
For 2024, STR projects Dubai hotels' RevPar growth of 1.9 per cent year over year, with growth more balanced between occupancy and ADR, Ms Fenerty said.