All four cities in Saudi Arabia saw an increase in hotel occupancy rates in the first half of 2012, Ernst & Young said in its latest Middle East Hotel Benchmark Survey. Jeddah's rate rose by eight percent to 81 percent, Riyadh rose by one percent to 64 percent while the holy cities of Madinah and Makkah both witnessed five percent increases, it said.
Elsewhere, hotels in Dubai have seen average room rates rise by more than eight percent in the first half of 2012 while occupancy has also improved by three percent. The survey said Dubai's average occupancy hit 84 percent between January and June, compared to 81 percent in the same period last year.
Average rates reached $251 compared to $231, an increase of 8.4 percent while room yield rose 12.7 percent to $212.
In contrast, Abu Dhabi, which has seen an influx of new supply over the past few months, saw occupancy rates remain flat at 78 percent.
Average rates in the UAE capital slumped nearly 12 percent to $195 while room yield also fell more than 11 percent of $154, the survey showed.
However, occupancy rates in Doha fell by five percent to 62 percent as new supply reached the hotel market.
In Kuwait, occupancy fell by three percent to 53 percent while hotels in Manama, which had been badly hit by the uprisings in Bahrain, saw occupancy rebound by 12 percent to 38 percent.
Oman also saw a rise in occupancy as Muscat hotels posted a three percent rise to 71 percent.
Yousef Wahbeh, MENA head of transaction real estate at Ernst & Young, said: "Despite having entered the typical low season for tourist travel in most of MENA, which will last until the onset of Eid or the beginning of September, Dubai hotels have continued to demonstrate growth year-on-year.
"Even with a negligible increase in occupancy rates compared to last year and despite the fact that hundreds more rooms have been added since June 2011, the overall RevPar has shown an impressive 11.5 percent increase since then.
"This is largely on the back of room rates increasing by more than 10 percent since last year and also due to the increased efficiency in operations in Dubai hotels."
Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority said earlier that Abu Dhabi hotels posted $631 million in revenues during the first half of the year, up two percent on the same period last year.
Some $251 million of total revenues came from food and beverage income, which was up by 11 percent, while $314 million room revenue represented a four percent dip on the year earlier period.
The Saudi Gazette