- A man walks on Jumeirah beach as the Burj Al Arab hotel is seen during sunset in Dubai.
Dubai’s hotels experienced a bumper first half even as refurbishment at the emirate’s main airport grounded Emirates Airline jets and limited the number of passengers flying.
Hotels in the desert-city, which has become known for its extravagant infrastructure, architecture and opulent places to stay, catered to 5.8 million tourists in the first half of the year – a record for the 6-month period.
Tourists arrived in droves despite a single-runway operation at Dubai International for two months of that period. Flights were cut by more than 26% during May and June as Dubai International underwent a major refurbishment program. The upgrades hampered the growth of Emirates, the world’s largest international carrier and a major link for tourists into Dubai. Dubai Airports accommodated 34.6 million passengers in the first half, up 6.2%, a growth rate some way below the double digit figures regularly reported.
For Dubai hotels, Saudi Arabia, India and the United Kingdom continued to be the largest source markets, but Chinese tourists grew 26%, as visitors from China continue to explore the Gulf and buy property in the region.
The Dubai government is readying the emirate to host the 2020 World Expo, a trade fair that is held every four years that affords the host city a global stage. Dubai plans to host 20 million people for the Expo year, compared with a forecast of 12 million this year. As a result, a glut of hotel rooms are expected to be built in the emirate in the next five years.
Dubai remained one of the best performing markets in the world for hotels in the first half. Revenues increased nearly 11% to AED12.7 billion ($3.5 billion), Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing added.
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(via WSJ Blogs)