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MENAFN - Khaleej Times - 06/10/2012

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(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Led by impressive hotel rates growth in Dubai and the holy city of Madinah, Middle East and North African destinations continued to remain booming tourism hubs this past summer, a leading hotel price comparison site said.

HotelsCombined's year-over-year price index show that throughout June, July and August, the majority of Mena destinations experienced a spike in price this past summer when compared with the 2011 summer season.

The calculation was based upon average hotel rates aggregated from dozens of top travel websites.

Dubai recorded one of the highest hotel rate increases in the world with an impressive 57 per cent rise from an average nightly fee of Dh601.17 in 2011 to Dh941.10 in 2012.

Dubai's buoyant hotel industry sustained its upturn in the first six months of 2012 with a 10 per cent surge in hotel guests compared to the corresponding period in 2011.

Dubai's hotels and hotel apartments played hosts to 5,027,223 guests in the first half of this year, the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing in Dubai has said.

"The impressive price increase could potentially be linked to Dubai's recent tourism campaign in overseas markets aimed at generating awareness on the city's numerous leisure activities and high-end resorts," HotelsCombined said in a statement.

Dubai's upsurge was followed by pilgrimage centre holy city of Madinah with an increase of 44 per cent and Sousse with an increase of 43 per cent. Abu Dhabi experienced a more humble rate increase of 12 per cent.

The only major exceptions for the price boom within the Mena hotel industry were Doha and Alexandria which dipped by five per cent and seven per cent respectively.

"Overall, the upturn data coming out of the Middle East and North Africa was quite impressive," said Hichame Assi, HotelsCombined's Head of International Strategy.

"Every summer, the Mena tourism sector appears to experience significant growth. This is especially apparent in the Middle East, where Islamic pilgrimage has summer tourism increasing steadily.

The return of consumer confidence in countries like Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia, following the cultural and political upheaval in the region, is also encouraging."

"Interesting trends emerged internationally as well, with the US experiencing an average hotel rate surge of 17 per cent. Anaheim " home to Disneyland - posted the highest price increase in America with a 42 per cent rise in the average nightly hotel rate of 109 in 2011 to 155.25 in 2012," said Assi.

South East Asia was similarly a success story, with most Indonesian, Thai, Malaysian and Philippine destinations experiencing a healthy hotel rate increase at an average of 14 per cent. The only South East Asian country where hotel rates seemed to drop was Vietnam " Ho Chi Minh decreasing at three per cent and Hanoi at five per cent.

The hotel industry wasn't quite so lucrative in several key Western European destinations. The German cities of Dusseldorf (-19 per cent), Leipzig (-16 per cent) and Binz (-16 per cent) all experienced declines while Athens hotel rates went down a significant 18 per cent during the 2012 summer likely as an after-effect of the tensions the city faced due to the current European financial crisis.


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