Dubai hotel rates rocket amid high demand for Cop28 stays

Hoteliers say emirate will be buzzing with activity when climate change conference kicks off in November

Hotel rooms are rapidly being booked up as Dubai prepares to welcome thousands of visitors to Cop28. EPA
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Dubai is set for a winter tourism boom as hotel room rates rise and bookings surge in the lead up to the Cop28 global climate conference.

The crucial UN summit, which runs from November 30 to December 12, is expected to bring 70,000 visitors to the emirate from around the world.

The National spoke to hoteliers and industry experts who predict occupancy levels will go through the roof during the two weeks of an event that will garner worldwide attention.

Rooms in Dubai's hotels are already selling out fast, according to a leading expert, with the UAE's National Day also taking place on the conference's opening weekend (Saturday, December 2).

Room rates for the opening day of Cop28 will set you back as much as five times current prices at some hotels, The National found

“Cop28 combined with UAE National Day on Saturday, December 2, and along all other events taking place in Dubai during the at busy winter period, will ensure the city is absolutely buzzing with activity,” said Kostas Nikolaidis, account executive for the Middle East and Africa at hotel analytics provider STR.

“On the hotel demand side, almost 30 per cent of all hotel rooms are already booked for both the first few days of Cop28 as well as New Year’s Eve.

“Demand is expected to continue to build up as we get closer to both dates. Both dates will no doubt lead to exceptional performance for the hotel industry in Dubai.”

So far, the night with the most bookings is unsurprisingly Saturday, December 2, which is National Day. Almost one in three of all hotel rooms in Dubai have already been booked for that evening – according to data provided by STR's parent company CoStar.

About 32 per cent of all rooms are booked out already in Dubai for the first night of Cop28, which is Thursday, November 30.

That figure rises to 33 per cent the following night.

Expo's Rove hotel fully booked

“We are seeing lots of interest for the Cop28 period,” said Paul Bridger, chief operating officer of Rove Hotels.

“Rove Expo 2020, the only hotel inside the Cop28 site, is fully booked.

“Given that the event falls on a very busy period of the year, we expect to see all Rove Hotels in Dubai running at 100 per cent occupancy for the Cop28 dates, with the city overall near full capacity.”

A standard room at Rove Expo 2020, the hotel on site where Cop28 is taking place, costs in the region of Dh1,500 during the event, according to a staff member.

“With the current trends we are expecting the hotel to have occupancies in the range of 95 per cent,” said Thomas Kurian, hotel manager a Leva Hotels.

Group bookings in demand

The main drivers behind interest in Dubai hotel rooms during Cop28 are groups connected to governments taking part in the climate change conference, according to Mr Bridger.

“Most queries come from groups from the participating governments, although there are also inquiries from media organisations, NGOs and support groups,” he said.

“With the current trends we are expecting the hotel to have occupancies in the range of 95 per cent,” said Thomas Kurian, hotel manager a Leva Hotels.

“With the current trends we are expecting the hotel to have occupancies in the range of 95 per cent,” said Thomas Kurian, hotel manager at Leva Hotels.

“As for rates, it would be approximately 20 per cent higher against [the same period] last year.”

A call to the hotel's reservation team revealed a standard room will set you back Dh1,050 on Friday, November 30 – the opening night of Cop28.

He said a trend had also emerged of how long people attending Cop28 were visiting Dubai for – as well as where visitors were going to travel from.

“We have witnessed that the demand for Cop28 has drawn guests from the UK, Israel, and the European market,” said Mr Kurian.

“These discerning visitors are planning stays of seven to 10 days, underscoring the international appeal and significance of the event.”

Proximity to the climate change conference has also played a part in some hotels experiencing a surge in interest.

“We are experiencing very high demand for Cop28,” said Robert El Khoury, vice president of sales and marketing at JA The Resort.

"This is primarily because we are one of the closest hotels to the venue.

“Requests are coming from various sources, primarily direct bookings, as well as through government organisations and embassies.”

The company is expecting occupancy at the property to be at 100 per cent throughout Cop28.

Prices for standard rooms during the opening night of Cop28, at JA The Resort, start from just under Dh1,950.

In comparison, the same room would cost Dh507 for Wednesday, September 27.

Mr El Khoury added that sister property The Manor by JA was also almost sold out, with only limited availability left.

“Guests are coming from across the globe, with delegations from Europe and Africa, and we are anticipating the arrival of guests from the GCC and the Middle East,” he said.

“The typical duration of their stay spans the entire conference, which lasts for 14 days.

“Cop28 has certainly generated a significant increase in demand and will positively impact occupancy and prices in Dubai.”

New Year's demand

Hoteliers are also expecting to see a similar pattern emerge on New Year's Eve, traditionally a busy night for the industry in Dubai.

“Anticipation is high for New Year's Eve, as early bookings are already reflecting the customary robust demand,” said Mr Kurian.

“Given our strategic proximity to Downtown Dubai, we expect to reach full occupancy during this celebratory period, which aligns with the consistent interest we observe during Cop28.”

Rove Hotels was also preparing for a bonanza New Year's Eve across Dubai.

“Compared to previous years, at Rove we are seeing an increase in demand around the New Year's Eve across our city hotels,” said Mr Bridger.

“Room rates on certain properties such as Rove Downtown or Rove City Walk, which are near the celebrations in Downtown Dubai, are also 10 per cent higher year on year.”

Rove Downtown rates this year are starting at Dh2,299, on New Year's Eve, while a room at Rove City Walk starts from around Dh1,799.

Updated: September 26, 2023, 2:27 PM