UAE: Travel demand remains same in summer as in winter, say tourism executives

Even Ramadan was a 'very healthy' month across the country and Dubai in particular, reveal experts


Waheed Abbas

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram


Published: Tue 7 May 2024, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 May 2024, 10:06 PM

The UAE is a 365-day tourist destination as hotels and airlines enjoy the same room and seat occupancy levels in summer that they have in winter months, thanks to a number of new tourist attractions that foreign visitors and residents can visit during the summer.

Hotel and airline executives said that foreign visitors are now increasingly combining Dubai and Abu Dhabi when coming to the UAE.

“Through the number of activities and initiatives that Dubai tourism has been taking to bring in meetings, events, leisure travel and Indian weddings, the city has become a sought-after destination throughout the year. Dubai has become a 365-day-a-year destination," said Haitham Mattar, managing director for India, Middle East and Africa at IHG Hotels and Resorts.

Stay up to date with the latest news. Follow KT on WhatsApp Channels.

"Now we are seeing demand in summer the same as in winter. Last year, our hotels in Festival City were up to 90 per cent occupancy. We have visitors coming from the region and international markets as well, especially for events and meetings,” he added.

He also said that summer occupancy hotels are reaching almost the same as winter, which is traditionally the peak season for travel and tourism in UAE.

The group operates 33 properties which house 10,000 keys in the UAE.

Mattar said that they work closely hand-in-hand with Dubai tourism leadership to identify different key source markets during different seasons, especially those who do not mind hot summer months but are looking for great affordable destinations.

“We work together on joint marketing campaigns that we ran successfully last summer and also during past Ramadan.”

“Even Ramadan was a very healthy month across the UAE and Dubai in particular, which drove visitor travel. Orthodox Easter was celebrated last Sunday so we received visitors from Russia here in Dubai, coming to celebrate Easter with family and friends, creating additional demand. Hotels and restaurants are currently full and that is great for the city,” IHG Hotels' regional chief told Khaleej Times in an interview on the sidelines of the Arabian Travel Market on Monday.

Johan Eidhagen, managing director of Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, said more than 40 per cent of customers are coming for Dubai. “Once people arrive in the UAE, they believe that they want to explore the whole of the country.”

But according to him, “people are choosing to come to Dubai and Abu Dhabi at the same time and spend longer time as there are more attractions. People are also looking at safer destinations. We see a lot of trends of staycations that people are coming for a shorter period when low cost enters the market.”

He added that the airline achieved 50 per cent growth in terms of passenger carriers, with almost no cancellations.

“We had over 85 per cent load factor and every sector was performing very well. We have a mix of routes. For winter, European routes are performing very well. We have a lot of inbound travel to the UAE. Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan are performing very well,” he added.

“April was close to 50 per cent growth trajectory. We are expecting double-digit growth for the whole year. We are looking at a lot of smaller regional airports in countries such as Saudi Arabia and more destinations in Europe,” he added.

Eidhagen added that people are planning their trips further in advance, so bookings are much earlier than before because they understand the advantages and benefits of the early booking.


More news from UAE