Year-over-year hotel rates have increased by double-digit percentages worldwide with the exception of North America, according to the latest data available from Smith Travel Research and The Bench.

The sharpest rate increase has been in the Middle East/Africa region, which saw the average daily rate increase by 13.6 percent to $142.67 in July, compared with the same period in 2006. Revenue per available room was up 20.7 percent for the region. The Middle East and Africa also was the only region with a significant increase in occupancy, which was up 6.2 percent. That was boosted largely by a 13 percent increase in occupancy in Northern Africa.

Europe remains the most expensive region for hotels, with average daily rates for July up 12.5 percent to $154.52. Year-over-year occupancy was nearly flat, and the region's RevPAR increased by 12.8 percent.

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