By Ed Attwood Sunday, 8 August 2010 9:18 AM

The highest regional hotel rate decreases worldwide were witnessed in the Middle East region during the first half of this year, according to the biannual hotel survey carried out by Hogg Robinson Group.
While the region dipped by fifteen percent, the Gulf countries were particularly badly affected, with Dubai (-12 percent), Bahrain (-14 percent), Qatar (-22 percent) and Oman (-24 percent) also suffering major drops.

Abu Dhabi was the worst performer with a 26 percent drop.

The HRG survey said that the results were due to a substantial fall in occupancy coupled with a glut of new space coming onto the market.

That decrease meant that Abu Dhabi slipped from being the second most expensive city in terms of average hotel rate in the first half of 2009 to eighth this year. Dubai is now nineteenth, having been in the top ten last year.

Moscow retained top spot in the worldwide ranking, with Geneva rising to second, and Hong Kong, Paris and New York completing the top five.

In general, the worldwide hotel industry looks to be on the cusp of a recovery, with rates in Europe and North America stabilising.

2010 has so far proved an encouraging year for the global hotel industry,” said Margaret Bowler, director of global hotel relations at HRG.

“The average length of stay has increased by 9 percent suggesting that corporates have begun to relax their travel policies in light of the perceived improvement in the current economic climate. However, our data shows that it is not consistent around the world and it is still too early to predict how the rest of 2010 will pan out.”

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