Dubai’s hotels enjoyed a busy first nine months of the year, welcoming over 7.9 million visitors between January and September 2013, a 9.8 per cent year-on-year increase. The latest visitor number results, released by Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) on the sidelines of World Travel Market (London, UK), show increases across hotel establishment guests, room occupancy levels, hotel and hotel apartment revenues and average length of stay, all key factors in order for Dubai to achieve its Tourism Vision for 2020.
During the first nine months of the year, guest numbers across all hotel establishments (hotels and hotel apartments) reached 7,941,118, a 9.8 per cent increase year-on-year. Hotel room occupancy averaged 78.6 per cent over the nine month period, up 3.1 per cent compared to the same period in 2012 and hotel apartment occupancy also saw steady growth, up 7.3 per cent to 81 per cent, compared with 75.5 per cent in the first nine months of 2012. Increasing the length of stay has been identified as a key driver of tourism growth within the Tourism Vision for 2020 and these results were also positive with the average length of stay across hotels and hotel apartments between January and September rising 3.5 per cent year-on-year to 3.9 days.
Hoteliers and hotel apartment operators experienced significant growth in revenues, with total revenues for the first nine months of the year up by 17.1 per cent, reaching AED15.33billion. Total guest nights also recorded similarly impressive rises, up 13.7 per cent to 30,874,916 from 27,163,974 in the first nine months of 2012.
His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, Director-General of DTCM commented: “These latest visitor figures show a steady and consistent increase across the key indicators that are critical in order to achieve our Tourism Vision for 2020. With guest numbers, room nights and length of stay all increasing, we have made positive early steps which demonstrate that while our aims are ambitious, they are achievable.
“A 17.1 per cent increase in revenues for hotels is particularly encouraging, especially given the number of new establishments which have entered the market this year. This demonstrates that Dubai continues to represent a major opportunity for hotel developers and that we must continue to work to ensure that supply is meeting demand. DTCM and our governmental partners are working on a number of measures in this regard, including the incentive we recently announced to encourage the development of more mid-range hotels.”
A number of new hotel establishments have opened in Dubai during 2013, including the Barjeel Heritage Guest House in Bur Dubai; Mövenpick Hotel Apartments The Square, Sofitel Dubai the Palm; Conrad Dubai; Oberoi Dubai; Anantara Dubai Palm Jumeirah Resort & Spa and, just last month, Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Lakes Towers A number are due to open before the end of the year, including Novotel Dubai Al Barsha; and Raviz Centerpoint in Bur Dubai.
Saudi Arabia, India, UK, USA, Russia, Kuwait, Germany, Oman, China and Iran made up the top 10 source markets for January to September 2013, mostly unchanged compared to 2012. Consistently Dubai’s primary source market, Saudi Arabia experienced the most growth once again, with visitor numbers increasing by 24.8 per cent to 1,052,353. Ranked 2nd, India continued to show strong increases in visitor numbers with visitors up by 15 per cent. Other markets which experienced strong growth include Australia – which saw a 34.9 per cent from 144,121 for the first nine months of 2012 to 194,448 for the same period of this year – and China, which had an 11 per cent from 181,180 to 201,036.
His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, Director-General of DTCM commented: “We are fortunate in Dubai that our visitors come from a broad range of markets from countries. At DTCM we capitalise on this with a network of 20 overseas offices which enables us to promote Dubai in virtually every major market across the globe. The continual increase of guests from both India and China can be attributable both to the increasing propensity for people from these countries to travel overseas and from our focus on growing these high potential markets. We recently opened our fourth office in China and – as with all our key markets – this year we’ve conducted a number of roadshows and market specific-campaigns to ensure Dubai is positioned as a destination of choice. The increase in visitors from Australia is thanks in no small part to the partnership between Emirates and Qantas which has significantly increased the accessibility between Australia and Dubai. To leverage this we have been increasing our marketing and promotional activities, in partnership with both airlines – for example bringing Masterchef Australia to film two episodes in Dubai earlier this year, and Emirates’ sponsorship of this week’s Melbourne Cup being themed around the story of Dubai.”
The results were released on the sidelines of World Travel Market, currently taking place in London, UK, where DTCM and a 70-strong delegation of partners from the Emirate’s tourism industry are promoting Dubai’s diverse destination offering to key international buyers. A focus of this year’s participation is Dubai’s growing reputation as a global events destination, a fact demonstrated by the calendar of events for the next six months which includes the 19th edition of the Dubai Shopping Festival; golf’s DP World Tour Championship and the 25th anniversary of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic; the Emirates Festival of Literature; the Emirates Airline Dubai Jazz Festival; Art Dubai; a performance residency from Cirque du Soleil; and a range of other events across the arts, culture, heritage and sport.
His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, Director-General of DTCM commented: “Events are a key pillar of the Tourism Vision for 2020, with our objective being to transform Dubai from a regional events hub to a global destination for events and entertainment in order to attract an increased number of visitors to Dubai. The inaugural Dubai Motor Festival last week is a demonstration of our intentions to develop a number of new festivals and events and we look forward to launching more within the next year.”
Dubai’s Tourism Vision for 2020, announced earlier this year under the directive of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and spearheaded by DTCM, sets out how the Emirate will double its annual visitor numbers from 10 million in 2012 to 20 million in 2020.