x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Dubai hotel visitors up this year

The number of hotel guests staying in Dubai increased by 11 per cent in the first nine months of the year, while revenues reached almost Dh11 billion, new data shows.

Dubai's tourism sector has experienced a dramatic lift, due in part to political instability in other parts of the region. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
Dubai's tourism sector has experienced a dramatic lift, due in part to political instability in other parts of the region. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

The number of hotel guests staying in Dubai increased by 11 per cent in the first three quarters of the year and revenuewas up 19 per cent, new figures showed yesterday.

The sector has experienced a dramatic lift, due in part to political instability in other parts of the region.

Dubai's hotels received 6.6 million guests in the first nine months of the year, up from more than 5.9 million between January and September last year, the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) said.

"With what's happening in the Middle East, I think it's a safe place to come," said Peter Mansourian, the general manager of the Grand Millennium hotel in Dubai. "Nobody wants to go to Bahrain these days, so the Saudis are coming here."

Total revenue of the emirate's hotels and hotel apartments increased by 19 per cent to Dh10.96 billion (US$2.98bn), according to the data. Dubai has also benefited from its affordability compared with the peak of the boom in 2007 and 2008.

The construction of new hotels has vastly increased the number of rooms.

"You've got a larger choice compared to some years ago," said Mr Mansourian. "You can stay from Dh150 up to more than Dh1,000 a night.

"Tourists are coming to see the Burj Khalifa, Burj Al Arab, they're coming for the shopping. Dubai is a stopover. Next Sunday is the Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi. There's a lot of things happening in the Emirates."

Hoteliers say tourist numbers from the GCC and China in particular have grown this year.

Occupancy has risen, despite growth in the room supply in the emirate, the data showed.

"The number of hotel establishments increased by 1 per cent to 573 while the total hotel rooms and flats jumped up by 7 per cent to reach 73,522," the DTCM said. "The average occupancy levels of hotel rooms and flats increased by 5 and 7 per cent, respectively, and stood at 72 per cent and 74 per cent, respectively."

Globally, tourist arrivals were up by 4.5 per cent in the first eight months of the year to a total of 671 million compared with the same time last year, according to a report released yesterday by the UN World Tourism Organization. But growth is expected to soften in the remainder of the year, it said.

Tourism arrivals in the Middle East as a whole were down by 9 per cent in the first eight months of the year, while arrivals in North Africa were down 15 per cent, according to the data.

"In spite of the current situation in the Middle East, some destinations such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates continue to grow steadily," the report stated.

rbundhun@thenational.ae