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Dubai: 100% occupancy in some hotels ahead of COP28

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  • Bookings have already begun for the conference; hence, hoteliers say the earlier, the better, as average room rates will continue to surge

Dubai: 100% occupancy in some hotels ahead of COP28

Some hotels in Dubai have already been fully booked ahead of the high-profile global climate conference COP28. Other hoteliers in Dubai are confident that occupancy levels will peak during the global event, reaching 100 per cent across most of their portfolios located at strategic places in the neighbourhoods of Expo City due to easier access.

The 28th edition of the conference on climate change will take place at Expo City 2020 from November 30 to December 12, 2023. The conference will be one of the largest and most important international gatherings in 2023 with over 70,000 delegates, including heads of state and world leaders among 198 countries, the European Union and thousands of non-government organisations, companies, youth groups, and other stakeholders converging onto Dubai.

Many hoteliers told Khaleej Times that bookings have already begun for the conference; hence, the earlier, the better, as average room rates will continue to surge. In addition, November-December is the peak tourist season when occupancy of hotels spikes across the emirate, with foreign visitors flocking to enjoy nice weather.

“Yes, we are seeing a significant increase in reservation enquiries for the COP28 period across our hotels in Dubai. In particular, Rove Hotels closer to the event are seeing the biggest demand increase, driven primarily by groups such as delegations from the participating countries,” said Paul Bridger, chief operating officer of Rove Hotels.

“Rove Expo 2020, the only hotel inside the COP28 site, is fully booked. Additionally, Rove At The Park and Rove Dubai Marina, our closest properties to the event, are already over 50 per cent, with occupancy levels growing rapidly,” said Bridger.

Are 150,000 keys enough?

Faisal Durrani, head of research for Mena at Knight Frank, said COP28 will boost Dubai’s hotel market performance.

“During H1, Dubai enjoyed the highest average occupancy levels in the world at 78 per cent – despite having 150,000 hotel keys, which is amongst the highest concentrations in the world. Events such as COP28 help to underpin the broad-based demand for leisure and business accommodation in the emirate,” he added.

Faisal Durrani

Faisal Durrani

Abdulla Al Abdulla, chief operating officer and general manager of Central Hotels and Resorts, said they are fielding inquiries exclusively for city hotels, particularly Canal Central Hotel Business Bay and First Central Hotel.

Abdulla Al Abdulla

Abdulla Al Abdulla

“We have secured reservations from 3 different groups, totalling 30 rooms, at First Central. Furthermore, we are experiencing a consistent influx of daily inquiries for Canal Central Hotel Business Bay.”

Occupancy peaking during COP28

Industry players said that the occupancy levels will reach peak levels during the mega event.

Al Abdulla added that hotels are performing exceptionally well, with an overall occupancy rate exceeding 70 per cent throughout the COP28 event.

“While we are currently at an impressive occupancy rate, we anticipate a surge in last-minute bookings as we strive to reach 100 per cent occupancy during the event,” he added.

Paul Bridger

Paul Bridger

Paul Bridger added that, as of now, the outlook for the COP28 period is looking very positive. “Given that the event falls on a very busy period of the year, we expect to see all Rove Hotels in Dubai running at 100 per cent occupancy for the COP28 dates, with the city overall near full capacity,” he added.

James Britchford, VP Commercial, IMEA, IHG Hotels & Resorts, said the group is witnessing high demand and expecting strong occupancy rates across its hotels in the UAE, especially Dubai, ahead of COP28.

“Additionally, considering the popularity of the winter season amongst tourists visiting the UAE, we expect high occupancy levels near 90% during this time,” he added.

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