Dubai to offer more budget-friendly hotel options, experiences to tourists: Top official

Overnight visitors to the emirate jump 134 per cent to 11.4 million in the first 10 months of the year

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Waheed Abbas

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Published: Thu 15 Dec 2022, 1:12 PM

Last updated: Thu 15 Dec 2022, 4:05 PM

Dubai has diversified its approach to attract more tourists and tapped as many as 82 different markets this year, the emirate's tourism chief said on Thursday.

The emirate is working on not just the products but the pricing and the timing to ensure that tourists are catered to in terms of their budgets and requirements, said Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing.

“When the rest of the world is still recovering from Covid-19, we have been able to see success in our numbers despite China still not being back to its full potential. We have diversified our approach and this helped us tap new markets,” said Kazim while speaking at Skift Global Forum East which concluded in Dubai on Thursday.

The number of overnight visitors to Dubai in the first 10 months of 2022 more than doubled, driven by a strong inflow of tourists from India, Oman and Saudi Arabia.

According to Dubai Economy and Tourism, the emirate received 11.4 million overnight international visitors during the January-October 2022 period, an increase of 134 per cent when compared to the same period last year.

The emirate received 4.88 million visitors in the first 10 months of last year. However, the numbers are down by just 16 per cent when compared to the pre-pandemic year.

India and Oman were the two major source markets with million-plus visitors, followed by Saudi Arabia, the UK, Russia, the USA, Germany, Pakistan, France and Iran.

Emirates NBD Research said Dubai hotel occupancy increased to 76.8 per cent in October from 69.8 per cent in September, but this was slightly below last October’s occupancy rate of 80.7 per cent.

Revenue per available room (RevPar) rose to $160 from $85 the month prior as high season pricing kicked in, but still four per cent lower than last year’s October levels of $169.6.

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“However, the apparent softness in hotel occupancy and RevPAR should be seen in the context of the increase in the supply of accommodation in Dubai. The number of hotel establishments has risen 7 per cent from 736 to 790, whilst the number of rooms has risen 8 per cent from 134,000 to 145,000,” it said.

Kazim said they have been able to penetrate 82 different markets this year — which is a record number.

“If we are going to attract more tourists, it is not going to be from the same traditional markets. We are trying to make sure that we have the right product, the right pricing, and at right time.”

He added that the goal is to reach pre-pandemic tourist numbers as soon as possible. “With China still opening up, we have been able to at least cover the gap by tapping opportunities in other markets. We saw good growth from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, CIS, Netherlands and Germany,” the Dubai tourism chief said during a media briefing on the sidelines of the conference.

Dubai is also currently number two in terms of room supply, just shy of 2,000 keys when compared to first positioned city London.

Kazim stressed that they’re working with partners to achieve the 40-million visitor target set for the UAE as Dubai will be the largest contributor.

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