Hoteliers in the UAE are expecting an average hotel occupancy of at least 80% for Christmas and New Year due to an increase in tourists.

Al Bustan Centre & Residence chief operating officer Moussa El Hayek said that occupancy at the Al Bustan Centre & Residence was higher than last year, despite the market still being affected by the crisis, reported Gulf News .

El Hayek added that the trend would continue until the end of 2011.

Raki Philips, area director of sales and marketing at The Fairmont UAE, said that his hotel is close to being fully booked between 27 December and 1 January, and that the management is expecting an average occupancy of around 80%.

Ramada Downtown Dubai executive assistant manager Wael El Behi said that his hotel had experienced a 15% rise in occupancy compared with a year ago, and that it has a 85-90% occupancy over Christmas and 90-100% occupancy for the New Year.

Ramada Hotel & Suites Ajman general manager Iftikhar Hamdani said that 2011 was much better than the previous year, and that occupancy for the Christmas period had already reached 88%, up on last year’s Christmas occupancy of 80%.

Around 60% of the UAE’s visitors during this period will come from Gulf Cooperation Council countries, with visitors from Russia making up another 20% and the remaining 20% from the UK and Asia.

"We have seen a rapid increase in Indian, Chinese and German guests this year," said Hamdani. "Accordingly, we plan to visit these countries and attend travel fairs in 2012."

There has also been a rise in tourists from South America due to better flight routes; one of the new source markets for The Fairmont UAE is South America due to Emirates offering direct flights from Brazil and Argentina.