Dubai's hotels welcomed more than 5.8 million tourists in the first half of 2014 - the highest number of visitors ever achieved in the first six months of the year. The statistics, released this week by Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), show increases across key indicators including hotel establishment guests, hotel and hotel apartment room revenues, F&B revenue and average length of stay.
His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, Director-General of DTCM commented: "Our strategy continues to be positioning Dubai as the must-experience family destination: as such we are constantly diversifying our tourism offering and increasing our hotel portfolio to attract, and cater to, a broader market of visitors. The figures for the first half of 2014 are encouraging and we continue to build on this growth to ensure a successful second half of the year. The figures show an increase in visitors from many of our key source markets - for example, we are seeing strong growth from China, Brazil, Australia, and many countries in Europe. The increase comes despite the reduction in flights due to the refurbishment and upgrading of the runways at Dubai International, which is testament to the work conducted by Dubai Airports and our industry partners in ensuring minimal disruption."
Visitors and source markets
In the first half of 2014, guest numbers across all hotel establishments (hotels and hotel apartments) reached 5,828,449, an increase on figures for the same period in 2013. Dubai's top 10 tourism source markets remained for the most part unchanged compared to the previous year. The top 10 markets showed some slight changes in positioning and continue to show the diversity of visitors travelling to Dubai. Saudi Arabia, India, UK, USA, Russia, China, Iran, Oman, Kuwait and Germany made up the top ten for January to June 2014.
Saudi Arabia continued to be Dubai's primary source market and guests from the world's two most populous nations, China (ranked 6th) and India (ranked 2nd), continued to show growth. China in particular saw a substantial increase of 26 percent, attributable both to the increasing propensity of Chinese residents to travel overseas and the targeted campaigns of DTCM and its partners within Dubai's tourism industry to leverage this to the emirate's advantage.
Guest nights, length of stay and hotel revenues
Hotels and hotel apartments saw steady growth in guest nights during the first half of the year with figures up by 6.7 percent for hotels and 4.1 percent for hotel apartments. Increasing the length of stay has been identified as a key driver of tourism growth across Dubai within the Tourism Vision for 2020, and average length of stay increased across the board, with an average of 3.9 days - length of stay in hotels increased to 3.4 days and hotel apartments to 5.7 days.
Revenues for hoteliers and hotel apartment operators saw significant growth - with total first half revenues reaching AED12.74billion (US$3.18bn) up by 10.9 percent. Hotels and hotel apartments reported increases in room revenue (15.3 percent) as well as F&B & other revenue, which rose by 3.8 percent.
His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri added: "The figures we're seeing show steady growth for the first half of the year, demonstrating that we're on target for our medium-term plans. More importantly, this growth is sustainable and we are moving in the right direction to reach our Tourism Vision for 2020 targets. In addition to the increase in hotel guest numbers, since the end of June 2013, Dubai has added more than 7,000 hotel rooms to its inventory, with the total now standing at 88,680 across 634 establishments. Dubai's hotel offering is continuing to grow and diversify allowing us to both meet the demand from travelers as well as broaden the market we promote Dubai to."
Festivals and events focus
In the first half of the year Dubai hosted leading events including the Dubai Shopping Festival, Emirates Airline Festival of Literature and the Dubai World Cup, which have all contributed towards the growth in visitor numbers. Dubai's status as the region's leading Meetings Incentives Conferences and Events (MICE) hub has also played a central role in boosting first half visitor numbers, with the visit of more than 14,500 Chinese delegates for one incentive trip in April demonstrating the value of this sector. Major business events held during the first six months of 2014 included Gulfood, Arabian Travel Market, and Intersec.
Looking forward to the second half of 2014, the events calendar is even busier with plenty of events scheduled including Dubai Summer Surprises and Modhesh World which is currently taking place through to September; Disney on Ice; GITEX Shopper; DP World Tour Championship; Eid in Dubai; the Rugby 7's and Dubai International Film Festival, and much more which will contribute to attracting visitors in the second half of the year.
About Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM)
With the ultimate vision of positioning Dubai as the world’s leading tourism destination and commercial hub, Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing’s (DTCM) mission is to increase the awareness of Dubai to global audiences and to attract tourists and inward investment into the Emirate.
DTCM is the principal authority for the planning, supervision, development and marketing of Dubai’s tourism sector; markets and promotes the Emirate’s commerce sector; and is responsible for the licencing and classification of all tourism services, including hotels, tour operators and travel agents. Brands and departments within the DTCM portfolio include Dubai Convention and Events Bureau, Dubai Calendar, and Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (formerly known as Dubai Events and Promotions Establishment). In addition to its headquarters in Dubai, DTCM operates 20 offices worldwide.