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DUBAI: A resurgent Russian tourism source market lifted demand for Dubai hotels last month, industry monitor STR said in its preliminary report.

"High demand was enough to outpace somewhat slowing supply growth and push a positive occupancy comparison," STR said, as the occupancy-driven performance resulted into a 5.5 percent annualized rise in demand for rooms compared with a slower 3.6 percent increase in the number of hotel keys, the lowest year-on-year pace for any month since November 2012.

As a result, Dubai saw its first January increase in revenue per available room (RevPAR) since 2014 to Dh703.89, while average daily rate was 0.6 percent lower to Dh814.51, and an occupancy rate of 86.5 percent.

RevPAR is an industry bellwether that is derived by a hotel's average daily room rate by its occupancy rate.

"Demand was aided by a fast-rebounding Russia source market, especially in beachfront properties," STR said.

The number of international tourists to Dubai reached 15.79 million in 2017, 6.2 percent higher over the previous year. The emirate is targeting to welcome 20 million visitors each year by start of the next decade.

India remained the top source market last year with 2.1 million visitors, becoming the first country to cross the 2 million mark in a single year. Saudi Arabian tourists meanwhile reached 1.53 million while UK travelers to Dubai were at 1.27 million.

Tourists from Russia meanwhile rose a hefty 121 percent to 530,000 last year.

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