x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Dubai pulls in 5 million visitors over the first half

More than five million tourists from around the globe poured into Dubai in the first half of the year, providing a huge boost to the hotel and hospitality industry.

More than five million tourists from around the globe poured into Dubai in the first half of the year, providing a huge boost to the hotel and hospitality industry.

Hotels in Dubai welcomed 10 per cent more guests in the first six months of the year compared with the same period last year, according to the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing in Dubai (DTCM).

Moreover, this influx of free-spending tourists meant revenues at hotels jumped 22 per cent to Dh9.7 billion (US$2.64bn) in the first half as guests spent more and stayed longer in Dubai.

"We are pretty much on for 10 per cent growth this year," said Matthew Green, the head of consulting at CBRE, a commercial property specialist and adviser to a number of hotel clients in the UAE.

"Last year, there was the knock-on effect from the Arab Spring but again this year there have been very positive numbers."

The cumulative number of nights guests stayed in Dubai hotels and hotel apartments was 19.2 million in the first half, up 18 per cent on the same period last year. Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), a property specialist, estimates 1,700 branded hotel rooms hit the market in Dubai in the first nine months of this year, with occupancy rates for the year to August up 3 percentage points to 77 per cent on an emirate-wide basis compared with the same period last year.

The average daily room rate for a hotel in Dubai was $224 for the first seven months of the year, according to JLL.

Serviced hotel apartments continue to increase in popularity across Dubai, with the average length of stay growing from 4.9 nights to 5.6 nights in the first half, according to DTCM.

Meanwhile, the average length of stay in a standard Dubai hotel is now 3.4 nights up from 3.2 nights in the first half of last year.

"I'm not sure we will get to 10 million visitors this year but there will be growth, which is most important," said Mr Green.

"The first half of the year might be slightly above the second half of the year, but evidently we are heading for growth."

rjones@thenational.ae