Middle East hotels’ rents down due to Arab uprisings; UAE tourism stable

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A view of Burj Al Arab and neighbouring tourist district of Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai, UAE. Photo - Phombo.com

A British online booking agency has rated Oman’s hotels as the most expensive in the world in 2011.

Average room rates in the Gulf state rose by 19% from US$288 per night in 2010 to $344 last year, beating the second most-priciest holiday destination Mauritius, where average rates stood at $255.

Hotels in Oman’s capital city, Muscat, also witnessed a spike in room rents from $293 per night in 2010 to $347 in 2011, making it the most expensive city in the world for hotel accommodation after the French Riviera casino haven of Monte Carlo.

“Oman became the most expensive country after it posted the biggest increase in prices,” said the report published by booking agency Hotels.com.

“This occurred after the development of more upscale accommodation and rising demand from European travellers,” the survey added.

According to Hotels Price Index, Arab uprisings during last year helped bring hotel costs in the Middle East region considerably down with the steepest drop coming in Qatar, where the average room rate fell 27% from $268 to $193, whilst rates in Egypt decreased 22% to $112. Hotel rents registered a decline of 21% in politically-volatile Lebanon slipping up to $176 on average.

Tunisia, the birthplace of Arab uprisings, saw a 9% drop to %97, while Saudi Arabia, the country which offered deposed Tunisian an asylum, recorded a decline of 8% to %179.

The UAE stood as the only destination which recorded a minimal decline in prices of hotel room rents. According to researchers, tourist destinations across the country reported a drop of only 2% to $184, largely attributed to the availability of large number of hotel projects under construction in the region.

“The biggest fallers were in the Middle East, where the widespread political instability, civil unrest and the war in Libya led to a dramatic fall off in demand and a slump in prices,” added the report.

“Travellers switched away from North Africa and the Middle East to ‘safer’ holiday destinations.”

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