|DUBAI, March, 4 2014 — Dubai’s hotels welcomed more than 11 million guests in 2013 – an increase of just over one million on the 2012 numbers and a positive indication that Dubai is on the way to achieving its target of welcoming 20 million visitors a year by 2020.
Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) released the statistics ahead of the global tourism industry gathering at the International Tourism Bourse (ITB) in Berlin this week, where a 50-strong delegation of partners from the Emirate’s tourism industry will promote Dubai’s diverse destination offering to key international buyers.
The announced figures also show increases across key indicators such as hotel establishment revenues and room occupancy. Guest numbers across all hotel establishments (hotels and hotel apartments) in 2013 reached 11,012,487, a 10.6 percent increase on the 9,957,161 of 2012. Dubai’s top 10 hotel guest source markets remained, for the most part, unchanged when compared to 2012 – with some slight changes in positioning. Saudi Arabia, India, UK, USA, Russia, Kuwait, Germany, Oman, Iran and China made up the top ten for January to December 2013.
The Australian market experienced the most growth, with numbers up by 39 percent from more than 193,000 in 2012 to more than 269,000 in 2013. This sizeable growth can be largely attributed to the partnership between Emirates Airline and Qantas announced in April 2013, which resulted in an increased flight volume between Dubai and Australia. Saudi Arabia, consistently Dubai’s primary source market, experienced further growth, with guest numbers up by 19.9 percent to 1.35 million.
China (ranked 10th) also continued to show significant increases, with visitors up by 11 percent, partly as a result of the targeted marketing activities in China of DTCM and its partners in Dubai’s tourism industry of Dubai and the opening of DTCM’s fourth China office in late 2013. The increase can also be attributed to the growing propensity of Chinese tourists to travel outside of China.
Helal Saeed Almarri, Director-General of DTCM, commented, “The strong growth shown in hotel establishment guests in 2013 is a positive first step on our journey to 2020. Having announced the Tourism Vision for 2020 in May 2013, a 10.6% growth in hotel establishment guests demonstrates that we are on track to double the 10 million tourists received in 2012 to 20 million per year by 2020 and is an affirmation of the destination’s ever increasing appeal.” Revenues for hoteliers and hotel apartment operators saw significant growth with total revenues up by 16.1 percent reaching AED 21.84 billion for 2013.
Total guest nights also recorded increases, up 11.0 percent to 41.57 million when compared to 37.45 million in 2012. Occupancy rates for hotel rooms and hotel apartments increased from 78 per cent to 80 percent, while the occupancy rate for hotel apartments was 82 percent, up 6.5 per cent when compared to 2012. These figures become even more significant given that 2013 saw a number of new accommodation options enter the market.
The number of hotel rooms and apartments at the end of 2013 amounted to a total of 84,534 (611 establishments) compared to 80,414 (599 establishments) in 2012, representing an increase of over 5 percent. In the current development pipeline for 2014-2016 there will be an additional 141 hotel establishments added to the market including 99 hotels and 48 hotel apartments bringing the total to 751 hotel establishments and just under 114,000 rooms.
In addition to the stated need to develop more hotels, broadening the range of accommodation offerings is one of the focuses needed in order to attract a wider market of visitors. The range of hotel openings throughout 2013 provides early testament to this, and include Barjeel Guest House in Bur Dubai; a number of two, three and four star properties including Vida Downtown Dubai, Movenpick Hotel Jumeirah Lakes Towers and Novotel Hotel Al Barsha; five-star hotels in the city such as Conrad and Oberoi; and two new five-star resorts on the Palm Jumeirah, Sofitel and Anantara In September 2013, the government announced an initiative to incentivise hotel owners to bring forward construction timelines of three and four star hotels, with eligible developments granted a concession on the standard 10 percent Municipality Fee which is levied on the room rate for each night of occupancy. This was followed in January of this year by the issuance of a series of directives from Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, designed to enhance and streamline hotel investment and development in the Emirate.