Tourism

Kuwait: Hotel occupancy increases by 61%

Hotel occupancy in Kuwait increased by three points, settling at 61%, compared to the same period in 2010, said a report by Al-Tameer Company for Real-Estate Investment. The report indicated that the price of one room within the first period of 2011 had jumped to 4.3%, which was around KD 79 per night while income for rooms had increased by 9.7%, settling, at KD 48.5%. Despite the increase, the report indicated that March has witnessed a drop by one point with hotel occupancy reaching 59% compared to the same period in 2010. In regards to the MENA region, the report said that the region reported mixed results across all the three metrics of the hotel industry. Hotel occupancy in the region fell 12.9% to 57.8% during March 2011. Average Daily Rate (ADR) rose 9.0% to $172.89 and Revenue per Available Room (RevPAR) dipped 5.1% to KD99.98 compared to the March 2010 figures. During January-March 2011, hotel occupancy contracted 7.8 percentage points to 56.8%. Conversely, ADR grew 9.4% to $176.31 and RevPAR improved 0.9% to $100.17 compared to the same period last year. Source: Kuwait News Agency

Tunisia: Empty resort highlights tourism crisis

The Tunisian seaside resort of Yasmine Hammamet with its fine beach, warm blue sea and welcoming hotels is like a picture postcard in early summer -- but with nobody in it. Europeans, Algerians and Libyans have all deserted the town in the northwest of Tunisia, which is undergoing the worst tourist season in history, like most of the other seaside towns in the north African country since the January revolution that ousted the despot Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali. ""It's worse than catastrophic,"" said Kamel Ben Abdallah, the manager of a three-star hotel, who normally makes 65% of his income during the summer. In spite of a 40% cut in prices, many rooms are empty. Ben Abdallah has been forced to slash his staff down to 40, compared with 100 during the same period last year, and he has taken on no seasonal workers. The hotel manager blames the media for this ""enormous waste,"" accusing journalists of painting a picture of a ""deeply unstable Tunisia"" since the popular uprising in January. ""They (the media) only over-dramatize things,"" he protested. The National Office of Tourism on Tuesday announced that 3,000 jobs have been lost so far this year in the tourist sector, which accounts for seven percent of Tunisia's gross domestic product and usually employs 400,000 people. The number of tourists arriving has fallen by 39% and income has dropped by 51%. Last week, the ministry of the interior announced that it was reinforcing the security presence in tourist regions but this measure does not seem to reassure many visitors to post-Ben Ali Tunisia. Overwhelmed, tourist professionals in Tunisia hope to save the season with the help of last-minute reservations. In the meantime, local people receive SMS advertisements every day offering ""incredible but true"" promotions for seaside hotels with prices cut by 35%. Source: Agence France Presse

Tunisia: Empty resort highlights tourism crisis

The Tunisian seaside resort of Yasmine Hammamet with its fine beach, warm blue sea and welcoming hotels is like a picture postcard in early summer -- but with nobody in it. Europeans, Algerians and Libyans have all deserted the town in the northwest of Tunisia, which is undergoing the worst tourist season in history, like most of the other seaside towns in the north African country since the January revolution that ousted the despot Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali. ""It's worse than catastrophic,"" said Kamel Ben Abdallah, the manager of a three-star hotel, who normally makes 65% of his income during the summer. In spite of a 40% cut in prices, many rooms are empty. Ben Abdallah has been forced to slash his staff down to 40, compared with 100 during the same period last year, and he has taken on no seasonal workers. The hotel manager blames the media for this ""enormous waste,"" accusing journalists of painting a picture of a ""deeply unstable Tunisia"" since the popular uprising in January. ""They (the media) only over-dramatize things,"" he protested. The National Office of Tourism on Tuesday announced that 3,000 jobs have been lost so far this year in the tourist sector, which accounts for seven percent of Tunisia's gross domestic product and usually employs 400,000 people. The number of tourists arriving has fallen by 39% and income has dropped by 51%. Last week, the ministry of the interior announced that it was reinforcing the security presence in tourist regions but this measure does not seem to reassure many visitors to post-Ben Ali Tunisia. Overwhelmed, tourist professionals in Tunisia hope to save the season with the help of last-minute reservations. In the meantime, local people receive SMS advertisements every day offering ""incredible but true"" promotions for seaside hotels with prices cut by 35%. Source: Agence France Presse

Sharjah: Top rank tourism

Tourism officials in Sharjah have adopted a hard-sell approach to promoting the emirate’s credentials as a travel destination, racking up frequent flyer points of their own as they crisscross the globe to take part in tourism fairs and trade events. The success of this campaign will depend to some degree on the health of the economies of the countries targeted by the emirate’s promotional push. More than 1.55 million foreign tourists visited the emirate last year, an 8% increase on the 2009 performance, according to data issued by the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA). Of these, 42% came from Europe, with a further 24% originating from neighboring GCC states, 17% from Asia and another 12% from Arab states beyond the Gulf region. Overall, tourism receipts contribute more than 11% of GDP, making it one of the largest single sectors in the emirate’s economy. Tourism’s contribution to the economy appears set to strengthen further, with a report released by SCTDA in early June showing both tourist arrivals and hotel occupancy rates posting double-digit growth for April, the former up by 11% and the latter jumping by 23% compared to the same month in 2010. Much of this success can be attributed to the fast-paced promotion activities conducted by SCDTA and supported by other agencies such as the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq). While Sharjah has a good mix of tourism attractions – blending sun and sand with culture, outdoor pursuits and a burgeoning business component spearheaded by strong meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) infrastructure – the emirate has to carve out a place for itself in an already crowded regional and international market. Source: Oxford Business Group

Oman: Major tourism investment projects in Dhofar

Major tourism investment projects are coming up in the Governorate of Dhofar, including Salalah Beach Resort, a specialized environmental project at Al Sodah Island in Shaleem W’al Halaniyat Islands and a tourism-cum-commercial complex called Salalah World. The Ministry of Tourism will also implement other investment projects in the governorate. These are Aftalqout Resort, Al Baleed Tourist Report, Ganout Tourist Resort, Platos Tourist Resort in the Niyabat of Al Shuwaimiyah, Wilayat of Shaleem W’al Halaniyat, an integrated environmental tourism resort in Khaisat Aqyan in the wilayat of Mirbat, Safeer Tourist Village and the Medical City project. Khalid bin Musallam al Rowas, Director-General of Tourism in Dhofar, explained that the first stage of the integrated tourism-cum-commercial project named Salalah Tourism Resort includes the construction of four hotels, a marina, a golf course, a commercial center, residential units and luxurious hotel apartments. The Al Soudah Island Resort includes 32 hotel units and is considered one of the most specialized environmental tourist projects, he added. Source: Oman News Agency

Al Ain on Heritage list 'a big plus for tourism'

The inclusion of Al Ain on UNESCO’s World Heritage List represents a huge opportunity for responsible tourism in the UAE to flourish, an industry expert said. “As the first UAE site to be included on the UNESCO World Heritage list, a great responsibility comes with having what is now recognized as one of the world’s greatest and most important cultural treasures,” said Justin Francis, co-founder of the pioneering travel website, responsibletravel.com. “It will be thrust into the spotlight as a remarkable place to visit, and all eyes will be watching to see how it is being conserved for future generations. I encourage the UAE to embrace this responsibility and benefit from a huge opportunity for responsible tourism in the country to flourish, with Al Ain at the forefront”. Francis will spotlight current consumer trends in travel related to responsible tourism when he joins an international line-up of speakers at the second World Green Tourism conference taking place at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec) from December 5 to 7. “For the UAE, as in other countries in the Middle East, if there is a real desire from organizations, tourism providers and opinion formers, a lot can be achieved,” said Francis. Source: TradeArabia News Service