The Middle East and Africa, a region battered last year with civil unrest, had the largest hotel sales increase of any global region in the first quarter, Smith Travel Research reported.

The region’s hotels had a 9.9% increase in revenue per available room (RevPAR), with the gains coming almost exclusively from occupancy increases.

In March alone, Egypt RevPAR in March almost doubled from a year earlier, while Saudi Arabia had a 21% increase in the month.

Asia-Pacific and the Americas also performed well in the first quarter.

Asia-Pacific’s performance (a 7.1% RevPAR increase) was partially buoyed by the recovery from the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in March 2011.

Tokyo’s March RevPAR surged 57% from a year earlier, while Seoul was up 26%, more than offsetting an 8.2% decline in India.

In the Americas, first-quarter RevPAR rose 7.5%, with room rate advances and occupancy gains contributing equally to the increase.

In March alone, RevPAR in Santiago, Chile, jumped 23%, while Sao Paolo’s rose 14%. San Francisco, Chicago and New York all had March RevPAR gains of at least 10%. Overall, the U.S. had an 8% increase in March RevPAR.

Europe had the lowest sales growth among global regions, recording a 2.5% increase in RevPAR, primarily from room-rate gains.

Eastern Europe proved particularly strong. Tallinn, Estonia, had a 28% RevPAR jump in March, while Prague’s increased 17%.

Follow Danny King on Twitter @dktravelweekly.

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