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CAIRO: Hotel occupancy rates in Mecca and Medina jumped 177% and 122% year-on-year, respectively, in the second quarter of 2022 after 23 million Umrah permits were issued in the first half of 2022, revealed a recent report from the hospitality industry.

According to the Colliers MENA Hotels Quarterly Report, Riyadh saw a 22% year-on-year increase in the second quarter of 2022 in occupancy rates as COVID-19 related restrictions were eased over the past year.

On the other hand, Jeddah saw a 10% rise following the “Jeddah Season” initiative, which ran from May 2 to June 30.

Dammam hotel occupancy rates also increased slightly by 3% during the second quarter of 2022.

The total number of branded hotels in the five cities rose to 63,100 keys in the second quarter of 2022, from 59,300 in the same period last year.

In the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi hotel occupancy rates saw the largest year-on-year increase of 31% in the second quarter of 2022, followed by Dubai at 30%, Sharjah at 15% and Ras Al- Khaimah at 1%.

Fujairah is the only city that saw a 5% decline in hotel occupancy over the reporting period.

The resumption comes after lockdown regulations were lifted and hotels were allowed to return to full capacity.

The total number of the five cities in the United Arab Emirates reported 116,800 keys in the second quarter of 2022, compared to 109,500 a year ago.

The report further revealed that branded hotels in the UAE are expected to touch 122,200 keys by the end of this year.

Egypt also followed a similar trend, with three popular tourist cities seeing an increase in hotel occupancy rates.

Cairo’s occupancy rate climbed 71% YoY, even as Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh grew 42% and 14% YoY respectively in the second quarter of 2022.

Alexandria is the only city that saw a 2% year-on-year decline from the second quarter of last year.

The total number of branded hotel keys in these four cities increased slightly to 88,000 from April to June 2022, from 87,600 in the same period last year. The report estimated that keys would hit 91,900 by December this year.

Doha, which has been in the spotlight for preparations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, saw a 141% increase in hotel occupancy rate in the second quarter of this year.

Additionally, Qatar has partnered with many cruise lines around the world, such as Costa Cruises, to improve its cruise infrastructure and provide a seaside experience for football fans who are expected to visit the city.

Hotels in Kuwait City, Muscat and Manama also saw their occupancy rates increase by 46%, 34% and 9%, respectively, during the reporting period.

However, hotel occupancy rates in Amman saw a 7% drop from the second quarter of 2021. The report expects a turnaround with the newly developed Ritz-Carlton Amman.

The total number of branded hotel keys in the five cities mentioned above increased to 46,600 in the second quarter of 2022, from 44,200 a year ago.

With the launch of the two luxury hotels in Kuwait City, Grand Hyatt and Park Inn, the number of branded hotel keys in the region could reach 61,600 by December this year.

Bahrain is also set to add to these encouraging numbers with the launch of Hilton Bahrain, a luxury property with 384 rooms and exciting leisure activities and services.

Riyadh and Dubai are also expected to inaugurate two new hotels, Fairmont Ramla and Atlantis Royal, by the end of this year, improving the hotel landscape in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Sharm el-Sheikh and Muscat will benefit from the participation of tourists in two important events in 2022, the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Egypt and the Food and Hospitality Oman event.

Overall, the demand and supply outlook looks promising as the entire region introduces new hotels, projects and initiatives for its tourism sector.

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