Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 17 November 2019

Dubai on track to reach 20 million tourists target by 2020

Fifth straight year of rising numbers resulted in Dubai attracting an extra 1 million tourists during 2013 - a 10.6 per cent increase.
Tourists at Dubai creek as they ride on the Abra.  Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
Tourists at Dubai creek as they ride on the Abra. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

Tourists from new markets are warming up to Dubai as the emirate recorded a fifth straight year of rising numbers of visitors.

Last year, its 611 hotels and hotel apartments received 11 million tourists, a 10.6 per cent increase over the previous year.

“The strong growth shown in hotel establishment guests in 2013 is a positive first step on our journey to 2020,” said Helal Saeed Almarri, the director general of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commercial Marketing (DTCM) .

Iranian visitor numbers, however, fell by 14 per cent to 277,847 last year.

Australia recorded the highest growth rate at 39 per cent year on year. About 269,000 Australians visited the emirate last year.

The increase followed the partnership between Emirates Airline and Qantas last April that increased the number of flights between the two destinations.

Saudi Arabia, India, the United Kingdom, the United States, Russia, Kuwait, Germany, Oman, Iran and China were among the top 10 source markets for Dubai, DTCM said.

The average room rate at hotels was Dh629, a 7 per cent increase over the previous year. It cost on average Dh433 for a room at a hotel apartment, where the rate of increase cooled down to 3.8 per cent over 2012. That year, prices rose by nearly 9 per cent compared with 2011.

The average occupancy rate at hotels was 80 per cent, up from 78 per cent the previous year. Hotel apartments reported occupancy levels of 82 per cent, up 6.5 per cent.

The emirate currently has 84,534 rooms among 611 properties. In the next three years 139 properties are expected to be added, including 91 hotels and 48 hotel apartments, which would raise the room count by 29,466.

“In the next two years, finding staff will be more difficult because you have to look for good calibre people, and you need to train them a lot,” said Mohamed Awadalla, the chief executive of Dubai-based Time Hotels.

The mid-market hotel operator, which now employs 700 people, expects to at least double the number in the next two years.

Revenues for hoteliers and hotel apartment operators rose by 16.1 per cent last year to Dh21.84 billion.

“A 10.6 per cent growth in hotel establishment guests demonstrates that we are on track to double the 10 million tourists received in 2012 to 20 million per year by 2020 and is an affirmation of the destination’s ever-increasing appeal,” said Mr Almarri.

Mr Almarri is leading a 50-member team to the ITB Berlin trade show that starts today to promote the emirate.

ssahoo@thenational.ae

Updated: March 4, 2014 04:00 AM

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