Hotels across Dubai had something to cheer about in January: they all saw more guests coming in, especially Russians. (Mohamed El-Shahed/ AFP)

Hotels across Dubai had something to cheer about in January: they all saw more guests coming in, especially Russians. (Mohamed El-Shahed/ AFP)

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Hotels across Dubai had something to cheer about last month: they saw more guests coming in, nearly all of the rooms were full and, most of all, they were at their best financially since 2014.

According to the latest preliminary data from STR, hotels in the emirate recorded a positive year-over-year performance in January, and this is thanks in part to the Russian tourists coming in droves to enjoy Dubai’s winter weather.

Besides, there were fewer hotel rooms added into the market last month and, as demand went up by 5.5 per cent, the revenue collected per available room, one of the most important indicators of health among hoteliers, rose by 1 per cent to Dh703.89.

“Dubai saw its first January increase in RevPAR (revenue per available room) since 2014,” market research firm STR said on Monday.

Official data released by Dubai Tourism showed that most of Dubai’s tourists are Indians, Saudis and British, although the number of Russian travellers has recently spiked, registering a whopping 121 per cent in 2017 compared to 2016.

Based on the daily data from January 2018, the average occupancy rate rose by 1.5 per cent to 86.4 per cent, while room supply was up only by 3.6 per cent. The average cost of overnight stay in the city, however, was down slightly by -0.6 per cent to Dh814.51.

“High demand was enough to outpace somewhat slowing supply growth and push a positive occupancy comparison,” STR said 

STR noted that the high demand was aided by “a fast-rebounding Russia source market, especially in beachfront properties.”

Dubai recorded a total of 15.79 million tourists last year, up by 6.2 per cent from 2016. The majority of the visitors came from India, which accounted for 2.1 million guests, followed by Saudi Arabia (1.53 million) and the UK (1.27 million) in the top three.

China was the fifth-biggest source of tourist traffic last year with 764,000 visitors, up by 41 per cent, while eighth-place Russia sent 530,000 guests, posting a stellar 121 per cent increase over the previous year.

By Cleofe Maceda

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