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 achieve 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.
Guest numbers across all hotel establishments (hotels and hotel apartments) in 2013 reached 11,012,487, a 10.6 per cent 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 Australia market experienced the most growth, with numbers up by 39 per cent 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 per cent to 1.35 million. China (ranked 10th) also continued to show significant increases, with visitors up by 11 per cent, 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, 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 per cent 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.
“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. 10 months on from announcing the Tourism Vision we have seen solid progress, with a further diversification of our accommodation, attractions and events offering, and the announcements of a number of new initiatives which will contribute to driving visitor numbers.”
Commenting on the importance of the Indian market, Almarri, said, “India continues to retain the No. 2 position as a top source market for Dubai accounting for 888,835 Indian citizen hotel guests registering a growth of 16.3 per cent over the corresponding period 2012. Indian travellers to Dubai find ease in reaching the Emirate owing to multiple airline options servicing the sector in addition to Emirates Airlines which covers 10 cities across India. Further, Dubai’s first world infrastructure, myriad of hotels and resorts, value for money shopping and plethora of attractions make Dubai a favourite destination for family vacations and short breaks. Going forward, we will soon embark on a series of joint travel trade promotions to tap the upcoming summer holiday break in addition to encouraging niche segments such as weddings, special occasions and leisure sports.”