Included in this roundup of news from the MEA region: African tourism in conflict areas; continued Dubai real estate slump; and more.
Each week, Hotel News Now features a news roundup from a different global region. Today’s compilation focuses on Middle East/Africa.
Dubai real estate slump expected to continue
The chairman for Dubai, United Arab Emirates-based Damac Properties said he expects the area’s slumping real estate market to persist at least two more years, according to a report from Bloomberg.
Hussain Sajwani, speaking during a World Economic Forum event, said 2019 is “going to be another difficult year” for real estate developers.
“I would hope by the end of 2020, or 2021, we start coming out of this slowdown,” he said.
Preliminary data from Hotel News Now’s parent company STR showed supply growth was more than double compared to demand in the market for October. Supply grew 7.7% year over year compared to 3.1% demand growth.
Occupancy was down 4.3% to 75.2% in October, with ADR down 6.1% and RevPAR down 10.2%.
Tourists still drawn to African conflict areas
A new report from The Wall Street Journal points out that while some areas of Africa are home to significant strive, they are still drawing increases in tourist arrivals. The newspaper points to Gabon as an example of this trend.
“Over the past decade, with the support of government and overseas philanthropists, (national parks authority head Lee White) has transformed Gabon’s parks authority from a group with just 100 staff with a budget of $500,000 to a $30 million operation with 800 employees, 175 cars, 35 boats and a number of aircraft, including a helicopter,” the Journal reports. “Tourists have begun to arrive, with visitors up by a third this year through July compared with the average over the same period in 2017 at the country’s most-popular national park for international tourists.”
Other growing hot spots include Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic. The newspaper notes Thomas Cook Group has sent a delegation to Sierra Leone to discuss possible tour packages despite “civil war and more recently an Ebola epidemic.”
September performance data for Middle East/Africa
The latest data from Hotel News Now’s parent company STR shows hotels in the Middle East saw year-over-year drops in each of the three key performance metrics in September, while African hoteliers enjoyed across-the-board increases for the same period.
Middle East: In the region, occupancy fell 7% compared to September 2017 to 59.8%. Average daily rate fell 18% to $124.49, which lead to a 23.7% drop in revenue per available room to $74.47.
Africa: The continent saw a 3.9% increase in occupancy for month, rising to 65%. ADR improved 6.4% to hit $107.96, and RevPAR spiked 10.6% to reach $70.21.
Compiled by Sean McCracken.