x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Dubai rolls out incentives for staycations during slow summer

Dubai is launching a campaign to tempt UAE residents and nationals to spend their summers in the emirate as a means of boosting retail and hotel revenues.

Dubai is launching a campaign to tempt UAE residents and nationals to spend their summers in the emirate, as a means of boosting retail and hotel revenues, rather than jetting off during the low season.

Ramadan also coincides with the height of summer in the UAE this year, which makes it even more challenging to attract tourists.

The campaign, called "Do More in Dubai", is to run from June 15 to September 30, the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) announced yesterday.

It includes discounts at local attractions as well as in Dubai Mall shops, and free accommodation for up to two children under 12 at 77 hotels in the emirate.

"We want to give people here in the UAE options," said Eyad Abdul Rahman, the executive director of the media division and business development at the DTCM.

"If you don't want to go [abroad] - and you cannot afford [travelling] outside - come to Dubai. Dubai is an affordable place … to come and visit."

Hotels generally experience a decline in profitability over the summer in the UAE, as they slash rates to attract guests.

Hotel occupancy levels in Dubai are likely to increase as a result of the campaign, Mr Abdul Rahman said.

He is forecasting an average occupancy of about 85 per cent for the emirate's hotels this summer.

The number of hotel guests in Dubai rose by 9 per cent, to 2.6 million in the first quarter of the year versus last year's first quarter. Meanwhile, hotel revenue surged by 24 per cent to Dh5.38 billion (US$1.46bn) compared with the same quarter last year, according to data from the DTCM.

The unrest of the Arab Spring, marketing efforts, an increase in tourist arrivals from major emerging economies and increased airline capacity all helped to boost Dubai tourism, hoteliers say.

Saudi Arabia was the biggest source market in the first quarter of the year, followed by India, then the United Kingdom, the data showed.

Abu Dhabi has also launched a campaign to attract tourists over the summer.

Last week, the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority announced that families travelling to the emirate from other parts of the Middle East and from Africa on Etihad Airways could take advantage of an offer that lets children 11 years and younger fly free when accompanied by a paying adult. Children between the ages of 12 and 16 can fly for half price.

There are also special deals for the summer at attractions in Abu Dhabi as part of the campaign.

rbundhun@thenational.ae

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