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Dubai hotel rates surge by up to 75% during World Cup

Expat Sport
NH Dubai The Palm: one of the hotspots for supporters heading to Qatar World Cup
  • Tourist hotspots near Qatar benefit from 3m World Cup tickets sold
  • Dubai November hotel rates up to average of $355, $420 in December

Dubai Marathon has been forced to move its upcoming race in December 2022 to February 2023, as organisers said the massive demand by football fans to base themselves in the emirate has resulted in a lack of hotel rooms, with average daily rates during the tournament rising by as much as 75 percent.

“Thousands of football fans have decided to base themselves in Dubai during the [World Cup] event… This has resulted in a shortage of affordable hotel accommodation,” Dubai Marathon organisers said in a press statement.

With 3.2 million tickets for the World Cup sold so far, not all will be able to, or want to, base themselves in Qatar for the duration of their trip, which has meant that nearby tourism hotspots like Dubai are seeing a surge in demand for hotel rooms.

“Travellers have started booking their tickets and locking in their flights for the FIFA World Cup. They are also searching for nearby hotels in the UAE where they can see the best of both countries,” Mamoun Hmedan, chief commercial officer and managing director for the Middle East, North Africa and India at travel search website Wego, told AGBI.

“Through our platform, we saw searches rise for the period between November and December 2022.”

The start date of the World Cup was recently brought forward one day to November 20, and the event will run until December 18.

Wego’s data showed that daily hotel rates in Dubai during November have risen to an average of $355, a year-on-year increase of 57.8 percent. In December average daily prices have surged to $420, a year-on-year increase of 75 percent.

Hmedan said these prices are likely to continue rising as we get closer to the start of the tournament in November.

High occupancy rates

Sam El Asmar, vice president of revenue and distribution at homegrown hotel brand Rotana, which manages 10,012 keys across 36 properties in the UAE, said it expects hotel occupancy rates to reach at least 95 percent in Dubai while the tournament is being played.

Simon Leigh, managing director for the Middle East and North Africa of Premier Inn, the UK’s largest hotel brand, said it’s two hotels in Qatar are both currently fully booked, and he is seeing “increasing demand” for bookings at it’s nine hotels in the UAE. 

“There is also a big appetite for our airport hotels in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, where guests are booking accommodation for before their flight or for when they arrive in the country.

Football fan hotel

Dubai-based Expat Sport, the exclusive sales agent for hospitality packages for the Qatar World Cup, has partnered with NH Dubai The Palm hotel to create the city’s first football hotel experience for fans.

The packages, which start from $1,495, include hotel accommodation, transfers to Dubai airport and return flights to Qatar.

Expat Sport launched the hotel packages three weeks ago and have sold around 2,000 bookings to football fans in the US, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, UK, Germany, France, Netherlands, Denmark, China and India.

World Cup Dubai style

Dubai is certainly looking to capitalise on the event. Dubai International Financial Centre announced this month it was building a luxury Football Park in the city’s main financial hub, to include viewing screens, Michelin-starred restaurants, and a butler service for fans.

Bally Singh, founder of the Rich List Group, who has previously organised superyacht parties for oil tycoons and a 100-supercar road trip for rapper 50 Cent, told AGBI in July he was planning a series of A-list parties in the emirate.

“We’re planning on doing an activation for FIFA in Dubai and Abu Dhabi for 30 days,” he said.

Just one table at a star-studded Qatar World Cup party can cost up to $200,000, Singh said, adding that his VIP clients spend large amounts on caviar, oysters and vintage drinks.

Qatar Airways said in May that Gulf Arab airlines would operate more than 180 daily shuttle flights to Doha during the World Cup.

Air Arabia, flydubai, Oman Air, Qatar Airways and Saudia have all announced the operation of multiple daily flights to enable fans to fly in from neighbouring cities and ease accommodation pressures in the host state.

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