The UAE tourism industry is headed for another record-breaking year, as hotel occupancy levels rise and demand outstrips supply.
Hotels across the country saw occupancy levels soar in January and February this year, demonstrating positive growth towards the nation’s goal of attracting over 15 million tourists by the end of the year.
The growth of investments into hotel and retail property development, airline route expansions, recent visa exemptions for all EU citizens and the recorded advances in the restaurant and leisure industries are all contributing factors.
Dubai leads the way
Hotels in Dubai recorded their highest February occupancy levels in seven years:
- 88.6% occupancy
- 10.7% increase in average daily rate to US$300 (AED1103)
“Growth in demand was able to outpace the continuous growth in supply, resulting in the highest occupancy levels of any February since 2007 for the market,” says Elizabeth Winkle, Managing Director of international data analyst STR Global.
Despite an existing supply of 84,534 rooms across 611 properties, Dubai’s development pipeline will add 141 hotel establishments, 99 hotels and 48 hotel apartments, raising the room count by almost 30,000, according to the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing.
Abu Dhabi leaps ahead
Meanwhile, hotels in Abu Dhabi also enjoyed a fantastic February:
- 33% rise in guests compare to February 2013
- 81% occupancy
While the largest source markets were UAE residents, UK and Indian visitors, the most significant growth came from China.
On the back of the Chinese Visitor Summit hosted in Abu Dhabi last September, Chinese visitor performance is rising, peaking in the early months of 2014. A total of 22,577 Chinese visitors flooded Abu Dhabi hotels in January and February, a remarkable 182% jump on the same time last year (see In Focus for more on Chinese visitors).
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