UAE tourist numbers 'set to hit 9m this year'
Dubai, February 8, 2012
The number of foreign tourists heading to the UAE this year is expected to reach almost 9 million, a statement quoting Business Monitor International (BMI) said.
The BMI report forecasts that overseas arrivals in the UAE during 2012 will climb to 9 million, a healthy 9 per cent increase on the 8.2 million tourists that arrived in the UAE last year, the statement from Arabian Travel Market (ATM) said.
The growing number of foreign visitors to the UAE is spurring a strong online visitor interest in ATM, the leading travel exhibition in the Middle East, ahead of this year’s event, it said.
The number of pre-registered visitors for the event, which opens on April 30, is already up 132 per cent from the same time last year, the statement said.
“With the unrest particularly in Egypt and North Africa last year, the UAE experienced an influx of tourism, boosting its status as a regional safe haven,” said Mark Walsh, portfolio director, Reed Travel Exhibitions, the organiser of ATM.
“With Emirates and Etihad opening-up at least ten more destinations between them this year, not including low cost options FlyDubai, and Air Arabia, future tourism growth is assured. ATM not only provides a platform for the travel and tourism industry, it acts as a barometer and the massive increase in our online registrations certainly supports BMI’s forecast,” he added.
Guest numbers at Dubai hotels rose 10 per cent year-on-year to nearly 4.6 million for the first half of 2011, BMI said, as more visitors from the Middle East travelled to the UAE.
A record number of guests also checked into hotels in Abu Dhabi last year, according to the latest figures released by Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA).
Over 2.1 million guests checked into hotels in the country’s capital, beating an official target by 100,000 and the previous record high of around 1.8 million in 2010, the statement said.
Despite a large increase in the number of available rooms, Dubai was the sole tourist destination in the region that has shown a rise in both occupancy and revenue per available room (RevPAR) in 2011, with increases of 4 per cent and 4.5 per cent respectively, according to a recent report by Ernst & Young.
According to another report by STR, the UAE is leading the region in development projects with 21,238 rooms under development and tourism initiatives underway across all the emirates including Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah.
“With oil prices stable at around $100 per barrel, the oil-exporting Gulf states are witnessing greater fiscal stability and investing billions of dollars into tourism infrastructure,” Walsh said.
The number of pre-registered visitors to the ATM from the UAE has reached 1,201, representing an increase of 156 per cent from the same time last year.
Meanwhile, the number of visitors interested in buying products and services is up 126 per cent to 1,868, the statement said.
The event which will be held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, has grown to become the largest showcase of its kind in the region. – TradeArabia News Service