Dubai and Abu Dhabi set new tourism records

Emirates nearly surpass hotel guest target for 2014 and gear up for 20 million visitors in next five years

New tourism world records for Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
New tourism world records for Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Despite challenges and global turmoil, Dubai and Abu Dhabi have managed to meet their tourism targets, with the capital expected to surpass its target of attracting 3.1 million hotel guests in 2014; 2.8 million guests have already checked into the emirate’s hotels and hotel apartments during the first 10 months of this year, according to the Tourism and Culture Authority’s latest statistics.

Dubai has proved to be one of the most popular destinations for tourists around the world, and has become world’s number one destination for hotels.

It is also the world’s number one destination for retail, according to TripAdvisor and has climbed up from its position as eighth most visited city in the world by international visitors in 2012, to fifth place in 2014, according to statistics by MasterCard.

Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM) confirmed that both the titles are among Dubai’s biggest milestones this year. Jones Lang LaSelle real estate consultancy’s executive vice-president and head of hotels and hospitality Chiheb Bin Mahmoud said, “2014 was a good year for the Dubai tourism sector, and builds up on 2013, albeit with an improved competitiveness. Dubai tourism benefits however from a strong diversification across feeder markets as well as across business segments [travel purposes].”

Hoteliers are also optimistic about the coming year, and have set growth plans in accord with Expo 2020 vision.

Rotana Hotels corporate vice president of sales Vicky Varfis stated, “Continued [average daily rate] growth in 2014 pushed the metric above 2008 levels, and further rate growth helped us to drive positive [revenue per available room] (RevPAR) performance throughout 2014. We are very optimistic for 2015, and anticipate growth in metrics for all cities in the region and the top RevPAR growth stories will be in the GCC cities, especially in the UAE, where we are forecasting an average occupancy growth of 2.5 per cent.”

To continue with the winning streak, DCTCM plans to focus on hosting more events and festivals.

It will also focus on attracting more transit passengers at Dubai’s airports into spending time in the city. Moreover, they also intend to increase three- and four-star hotel stock to cater to travellers regardless of their budget.

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