More than 5.5 million tourists visited Dubai in the first half of 2013, representing an 11.1 per cent year-on-year increase, said Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM). This indicates that Dubai is on the way to achieving its Tourism Vision for 2020 of attracting 20 million tourists.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced Tourism Vision for 2020 in May this year setting out how the city will double its annual visitor numbers from 10 million in 2012 to 20 million in 2020.
Sheikh Mohammed wrote on his Facebook page few months back: “Today we approved Dubai Vision 2020 for the tourism sector.The goal is 20 million tourists and AED 300 billion in tourism revenues annually by 2020. We’ll achieve this through three key areas of focus: family tourism, global events & attractions, & Dubai’s status as a business destination. The vision is clear, infrastructure is ready & confidence in our human resources is high. The future does not wait for those who hesitate. We want everyone to work as one team to achieve the goal, with positive energy, strong determination & the belief that anything is possible.”
Helal Saeed Almarri, Director-General of DTCM said: “The latest figures for the first half of 2013 are extremely encouraging and indicate that we are on the way to achieving our Tourism Vision for 2020. Our strategy is to position Dubai as a foremost destination for both leisure and business travellers by continuously evolving our broad and diverse tourism offering, and attracting visitors from a range of source markets, including targeting a new generation of first-time travellers from emerging markets. The increase in visitors from each of our key source markets is particularly encouraging, with a number of these markets showing particularly strong growth, including the GCC countries, China, India, Australia and many countries in Europe.”
Guest numbers across all hotel establishments (hotels and hotel apartments) in the first half of the year reached 5,583,379, an 11.1 per cent increase on the 5,027,223 in the first half of 2012. Dubai’s top 10 tourism source markets remained the same as those for the first half of 2012, with some slight changes in positioning, and reflect the diversity of visitors who are attracted to the city. Saudi Arabia, India, UK, USA, Russia, Germany, Kuwait, Oman, China and Iran made up the top ten for January to June 2013.
Despite already being Dubai’s primary source market, Saudi Arabia experienced the most growth, with visitor numbers swelling by 31.6% to 710,472. Australia (ranked 13th) also recorded a sizeable rise in visitor numbers, with growth rates of 24.3 per cent reflecting the increased flight volume resulting from the partnership between Emirates Airline and Qantas, formalised in April. The Netherlands entered the top 20 source markets for the first time, at number 20, with a 17 per cent increase in visitors.
Guests from the world’s two most populous nations, China (ranked 9th) and India (ranked 2nd), continued to show strong increases, with visitors from both markets up by 15.8 per cent buoyed both by the growth in the emerging middle class and first-time international travellers, and by targeted destination marketing campaigns led by DTCM and its overseas offices, and tourism sector partners.
About these markets Almarri said: “Saudi Arabia, China and India are markets which DTCM has put significant focus on, as we believe they provide substantial opportunities for growth. DTCM has conducted a number of roadshows, participated in a range of events and operated specific campaigns in these markets to ensure that Dubai is positioned as a destination of choice. With regards to Australia, the partnership between Emirates and Qantas has clearly had a highly positive impact and DTCM has been working closely with both airlines to maximise the opportunities the partnership provides to increase the amount of visitors from both Australia and the other markets which the partnership opens up.”
The occupancy rate for hotel rooms and hotel apartments saw steady growth during the first half of the year. Hotel room occupancy averaged 84.6 per cent over the six month period, up 2.8 per cent from 81.8 per cent in the first half of 2012, while the occupancy rate for hotel apartments was 85.8 per cent in H1 2013, up 6.5 per cent from 79.3 per cent in H1 2012. (Graph courtesy: DTCM)