DUBAI // Dubai has been ranked the world’s second-most expensive city in which to stay, and industry experts say tourists are travelling to nearby emirates to avoid the rising costs of hotels.
In a list compiled by Bloomberg, Geneva was the most expensive city, and Kuwait and Zurich were third and fourth.
The average cost of a room in Geneva is US$308 (Dh1,131), followed by Dubai at $273 and Kuwait at $253.
Clive Dwyer, director of destination management at Miral, which operates Yas Island, said the trend of people moving away from Dubai had been of benefit to the island’s hotels.
“The reality is two-fold,” Mr Dwyer said.
“Visitors to the UAE are rising but in particular, the number of people coming to Yas has risen in the past six months.
“There has been a reality check on room rates. Some of Dubai’s room rates are similar to 2008, which is a shock to consumers. It hits the travel agents and intermediaries.
“So if they want to offer value for money to travellers, Yas is close to Dubai, and has the big chain hotels, cheaper rates and all the entertainment on the island.”
Mr Dywer said Yas was becoming a third option after Dubai and Abu Dhabi as a “base camp” for travellers, many of whom choose to spend only one or two nights in Dubai as an alternative. There had been an increase of visitors to the island of between 14 and 20 per cent last month, compared with June last year, he said.
“Yas is 25 per cent cheaper than Dubai but for the price it would be a better star-rating hotel,” Mr Dwyer said.
“Everything is here from the golf to the water and theme parks.”
Issam Kazim, chief executive of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), said Dubai still offered travel rates that were comparable to other top-ranked cities.
“In Dubai we are fortunate to have some of the world’s very best hotels and guest accommodation,” said Mr Kazim.
“These hotels, combined with a wealth of experiences, events and attractions, create a world-leading travel destination.
“A TripAdvisor survey with more than 54,000 travellers recently ranked Dubai as the No 1 city in the world for hotels and for shopping, so we know that there are thousands of people around the globe who love Dubai and are eager to visit and revisit our emirate.”
He said that the emirate was constantly trying to offer more three and four-star hotels to keep Dubai competitive.
“At DTCM, we have recognised that there is an opportunity to expand the breadth of our hotel stock and in doing so broaden our accessibility as a travel destination, especially for those visitors on a budget,” Mr Kazim said.
“We are currently working with government agencies, with developers and investors to increase the number of three and four-star hotels in Dubai.
“We’re doing this through special incentives for investors and developers, and by working closely with our private-sector partners in the hospitality sector to bring existing global three and four-star brands to Dubai, or to develop new brands and properties in this segment.”
Ravinder Saini, business development and marketing manager at Lama Tours, said there was a trend towards tourists splitting time between Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
“The prices are good in Abu Dhabi and the hotels are beautiful so value for money is good, but occupancy is still very high in Dubai,” Mr Saini said.