ATM 2021: UAE hotel performance strong despite pandemic

ATM 2021

According to recent reports and analysis published by STR and Colliers International, hotels in the UAE have been performing well despite the operational challenges they faced during the pandemic last year.

Eager to support the hotel industry during the vaccine rollout, the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2021, taking place from May 16-19, is organising a Hotel Summit on Tuesday, May 18, which will address and debate the trends and key drivers that will support the Middle East’s hotel sector’s recovery.

Exhibition director Middle East, ATM, Danielle Curtis said: “According to STR data, the Middle East region was a top performer globally during 2020, with average occupancy of 45.9 per cent. One of best performing countries was the UAE with an average occupancy of 51.7 per cent and an average daily rate (ADR) of $114.

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“Although these figures were 29.3 per cent and 16.5 per cent down year-on-year, given the challenges presented by the pandemic, it is a remarkable achievement and proves just how resilient the hotel sector is in the UAE and wider Middle East. Furthermore, if we drill down on these figures, ADR in Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah actually rose last year by seven per cent and one per cent respectively, compared with 2019 and over the New Year’s celebrations hotels in Dubai were running average occupancies of 76 per cent with an ADR of $300.

“I am certain that many hoteliers in the Middle East are now preparing for a V-shaped recovery, especially with the successful rollout of the vaccine and the ensuing herd immunity,” Curtis explained.

A recent YouGov luxury survey revealed that more than half (52 per cent) of respondents said they were planning to take a domestic holiday or staycation during 2021 and a further 25 per cent were planning to make a business trip, either domestically or internationally, with only four per cent having no plans to travel anywhere in 2021.

“Moreover, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also indicated that British nationals may be allowed to travel without any restrictions as soon as June 21, which, given their close ties, would be a major boost for business and leisure travel throughout the Middle East,” Curtis said.

Two sessions will take place at the Hotel Summit on ATM’s Global Stage. The first will address the changing roles of hotels, such as workations and changing guest expectations, and the second discussion will look into the issue of enhancing the hospitality experience, while introducing technological innovation.

Expert panelists will include CEO, Kerten Hospitality, Marloes Knippenberg; COO, Emaar Hospitality, Mark Kirby; CEO, Jumeirah Group, Jose Silva; CEO, Marriott International Middle East, Guido De Wilde; and CEO, Langham Hospitality, Stefan Leser, plus others.

During ATM 2021’s virtual event, which will follow the show, a session examining whether wellness and sustainability trends will be accelerated during the post-pandemic recovery will take place on May 25.