Following completion of mega-projects, Dubai braces for tourist influx
Industry sources said the huge influx of visitors will surely give a much-needed boost to the tourism industry after a slow summer and sluggish demand from key markets. (Shutterstock/Maksym Poriechkin)
Thousands of tourists from the GCC, Europe and other major markets are expected to flock to Dubai over the next few weeks, as the city has just unveiled a number of mega attractions and the emirate’s social events calendar is fast filling up.
Dubai has recently launched several key projects, including the 1.5-million-square-foot IMG Worlds of Adventure and the much bigger leisure destination, the 25-million-square-foot Dubai Parks and Resorts, which is home to three theme parks and one water park.
Just more than a week earlier, Dubai witnessed the grand opening of the 3.2-kilometre Dubai Water Canal, which links the Dubai Creek to the Arabian Gulf.
With so many exciting things now on offer, hotels in the city are seeing a growing number of tourist arrivals, with occupancy levels rising to as much as 80 per cent. Towards the end of the year, many hoteliers are expecting higher or full occupancy.
Industry sources said the huge influx of visitors will surely give a much-needed boost to the tourism industry after a slow summer and sluggish demand from key markets. Visitor numbers from big-spending markets like Russia had earlier declined, owing to the decline in oil prices and strengthening of the US dollar, but this trend is starting to change.
“With new developments on the tourism front, where Dubai has seen three new attractions opening in a span of just three months, Dubai is sure to win hearts of tourists and it is going to pull in a huge number probably exceeding earlier years,” said Moussa El Hayek, COO of Al Bustan Centre and Residence.
“This is the best season for the travellers to visit Dubai, hence the excitement surely is in the air,” he added.
El Hayek said they’re expecting a huge number of guests from Russia and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.
“This year, we have seen a steady flow of tourists from Russia]. Currently, we are enjoying a decent share of 80 per cent occupancy level. We plan to increase [it] by at least 20 per cent [over the next few weeks.”
“The trends surely are positive and we see an upward booking curve.”
Dubai’s hotel occupancy had earlier dropped, averaging 84.7 per cent in the first three months of the year, down from 85.6 per cent in the same period of 2015. The decline was partly due to the size of new hotel supply, which outpaced demand growth for the same period. As of October this year, Dubai recorded more than 19,000 rooms in 67 hotels still under construction, according to STR data.
A spokesperson for Millennium Plaza Hotel in Dubai said that over the next few weeks, they are expecting to see a “good mix” of travellers from the GCC, Far East and Europe. “We have also seen a rise of travellers from the Americas. [Our occupancy level] fluctuates between the high 80s to the high 90s, with a few days at 100 per cent,” the hotel said.
“This trend will continue toward the end of the year. Hopefully, we expect to be in line or a bit higher in occupancy compared to 2015.”
“A lot of factors [will boost visitor numbers]- meetings, exhibitions, short breaks, the opening of various theme parks and various air connection routes via Dubai.”
By Cleofe Maceda
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