Dubai: Hotels in Dubai reported strong occupancy rates as the number of Gulf visitors coming for summer breaks grew and Europeans flocked to beach properties that offered them attractive deals.
Managers at most hotels and hotel apartments said they enjoyed occupancy rates of more than 80 per cent and 90 per cent in July and expect similar bookings until August-end.
City hotels in particular saw a significant increase in guests from other Gulf countries in the last couple of months.
"We are currently running 90 per cent occupancy and half of our guests are from the GCC. Before the summer, GCC guests used to be about 25 per cent of the total," said Peter Janssen, group general manager of Star Hospitality, a division of ETA group.
He said most Gulf visitors staying at the group's hotel apartments were holiday visitors.
DSS discounts Dubai attracts a huge number of GCC families because of shopping opportunities and children's entertainment activities held during special tourism promotion events like the Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS).
The dollar-pegged dirham's decline against major currencies like the euro and the British pound also helped Dubai in attracting more European holidaymakers, who found their purchasing power rise.
"A large number of our guests are European, especially from the UK and Germany. We conducted a successful marketing campaign in those markets," said Chantel Moore, director of international sales at Habtoor Hospitality.
For several years, Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) officials have been trying to attract more tourists during summer months, when outbound tourism from the UAE and other Gulf countries peaks.
According to DSS organisers, hotel occupancy rates have been growing year after year since 1997 as the annual shopping promotion campaign has raised the emirate's profile as a tourist destination.
Natalie Nasser, Hilton's director of business development, agreed.
Promotions "Dubai is seen as a 'hot' destination. This is due to the excellent marketing and initiatives like Summer Surprises which generate interest in the market," Nasser said, adding that in July both the Hilton Dubai Jumeirah and the Hilton Dubai Creek enjoyed occupancy more than 90 per cent.
"The majority of our business is coming from European markets, especially from the UK and Germany," she said.
Hilton reported a three per cent increase in GCC visitors this summer compared with the same period last year.
For Starwood Hotels and Resorts, the operator of Sheraton, the occupancy levels at city properties were 13 per cent higher for summer, while beach properties saw and increase of 10 per cent in bookings.
Shujaat Yar, area director of sales and marketing at Starwood, said revenue per available room was 25 per cent higher this summer for in the city and 17 per cent more for the beach properties.