Over 11 million guests stayed at Dubai’s hotels last year, up 10.6 per cent compared to 9.9 million in 2012, according to the latest figures released by Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM).
Total guest nights last year rose 11 per cent to 41.57 million, while occupancy rates for hotel rooms and hotel apartments increased to 80 per cent, a statement said.
Revenues for hoteliers and hotel apartment operators also grew by 16.1 per cent, reaching Dhs21.84 billion.
According to the data, Dubai’s top 10 hotel guest source markets were Saudi Arabia, India, UK, USA, Russia, Kuwait, Germany, Oman, Iran and China. However, the highest growth came from the Australian market, with guest numbers up by 39 per cent to over 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,” DTCM said.
Visitor numbers from Saudi Arabia grew 19.9 per cent to 1.35 million, while Chinese guest figures also rose 11 per cent.
The latter was due to DTCM’s targeted marketing activities in China, the opening of its fourth Chinese office in late 2013, and the growing inclination of Chinese tourists to travel outside of China, the department said.
The growth represents the first step towards achieving Tourism Vision 2020, which aims to bring 20 million visitors to Dubai by 2020, said Helal Saeed Almarri, director general of DTCM.
“In order to achieve our target, we must deliver on our strategy to position Dubai as a foremost destination for both leisure and business travellers by continuously evolving our destination offering and attracting visitors from a broader range of source markets while growing the number received from the markets which have traditionally been strong,” he said.
On the supply side, the number of hotel rooms and apartments at the end of 2013 amounted to 84,534 (611 establishments) compared to 80,414 (599 establishments) in 2012, an increase of over five per cent, said DTCM.
In the current development pipeline for 2014-2016, an additional 141 hotel establishments including 99 hotels are expected to be added to the market, bringing the total to 751 hotel establishments and just under 114,000 rooms.
Almarri said: “In order to provide accommodation for our targeted visitor numbers for 2020, we estimate we need a total of between 140,000 to 160,000 rooms and will work closely with the investment industry to make this happen.”
DTCM is also working on broadening the range of accommodation to include more affordable offerings.
In September last year, the Dubai government announced an initiative to incentivise hotel owners to bring forward construction timelines of three and four star hotels. It stated that eligible developments will be granted a concession on the standard 10 per cent municipality fee, which is levied on the room rate for each night of occupancy.
“The financial incentive to develop more mid-range hotels has been received very well by the hotel investment and development industry and will swell the number of mid-range hotels which are constructed and opened in the next three to four years,” added Almarri.