UAE hotel occupancy rates continue to slide

But optimism still pervades, with hoteliers expecting tourist numbers to pick up soon

Dubai:  By any measure, there aren’t enough tourists to fill all the hotel rooms in the UAE.

The latest data released by research firm STR showed that due to a slow influx of holidaymakers, coupled with a huge supply of new hotels, occupancy numbers, as well as revenues and room rates in UAE, continued to drop in October compared to a year earlier. The average cost of hotel stay, in particular, slumped to an 11-year low.

Occupancy rates at hotels in Dubai dropped by 2 per cent to 78 per cent, while the revenue per available room (RevPAR), a key indicator of hotel profitability, was also down 11.6 per cent to Dh596.16. The price of hotel rooms, or average daily rate (ADR), dipped by 9.8 per cent to Dh764.63.

STR analysts attributed the performance to a decline in visitors from certain markets, owing to the drop in oil prices. The oil's decline, as well as the rise of the US dollar, to which the UAE dirham is pegged, has somewhat dampened the purchasing power of tourists from places like Russia and China.

The UAE's hospitality sector is one of the industries experiencing a slowdown in employment, with the number of online job postings within the industry registering a 66 per cent year-on-year decline in September, according to the Monster Employment Index.

This doesn’t mean that hotels are seriously low on...