Over 600 hotels in Dubai witnessed an average occupancy of nearly 90 percent in March, while holiday resorts in Abu Dhabi reported their best quarter ever from January to March.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) hospitality sector remained on the uptick in the first quarter, figures released by analysts and tourism authorities showed.
According to Dubai-based TRI hospitality consulting, Dubai's 612 hotels reached a hotel occupancy of 88.4 percent, up 1.1 percent over February. Average room rates hitting 398.71 dollars, an increase of 5.6 percent year on year, local daily Gulf news reported.
Dubai's neighboring emirate Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, and its 150 hotels recorded 2.6 million guest nights in the first quarter, up by 22 percent over the same period last year, state- news agency WAM reported on Wednesday, quoting the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA).
With an average occupancy rate of 79.1 percent in March, resorts in Abu Dhabi were performing slightly weaker than Dubai, but improved by 4.4 percent over February, according to TRI consulting.
Despite the booming tourism sector in Dubai, which got a boost with events like the world's most prestigious horse race Dubai world cup at the end of March, the Dubai art week and the festival of lights, average daily rate of hotel rooms in Dubai fell slightly by 0.2 percent, reaching 871.91 Dirham or 237.77 dollars.
Gulf News quoted the managing director of TRI consulting Peter Goddard as saying that "although the market witnessed stagnant performance during March, the strong growth experienced in January and February ensures that the market maintains positive heading into the summer period."
Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi witnessed a growing interest from Chinese visitors. Chinese arrivals in the first quarter delivered 50,253 guest nights, which more than doubled to the same period of last year. The UAE's biggest source markets include India, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom.
Last year, Dubai hosted 11 million tourists and business travelers. By 2020, the emirate aims to lure 20 million visitors per year.
The UAE tourism sector will present itself from May 5-8 to global travel agents and tour operators at the Arabian travel market, the biggest tourism and hospitality fair in the Middle East and North Africa.