Dubai targets around 5.5 million overseas tourists during the year - GulfToday

Dubai targets around 5.5 million overseas tourists during the year


Visitors at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai on Tuesday. Reuters

Inayat-ur-Rahman / Reuters

The Dubai tourism sector is back on track bucking the global trends as the City of Wonders  expects to attract over 5.5 million overseas visitors this year, hopeful that new markets can help make up for the loss of visitors from key places where travel is restricted.

Dubai had 5.5 million overseas visitors last year, when the tourism sector was pummelled by the coronavirus pandemic. In 2019, 16.7 million tourists visited.

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom, Dubai’s third biggest source market in 2019, has barred direct flights and requires travellers from the UAE to hotel quarantine.

Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM) said visitor numbers from newer markets in Europe, Africa and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) were performing well.

“All of these markets will start to add up and hopefully fill the gaps and give us a much stronger foundation to build a confident rebound going forward,” he told Reuters at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai

The Middle East city reopened its borders to international visitors last July and was a popular holiday spot over the New Year with many other global destinations shut off due to the pandemic.

But the influx of foreign tourists coincided with a second wave of coronavirus infections across the UAE and led Dubai to tighten capacity restrictions on hotels and restaurants.

Many of those restrictions were eased this week.

Kazim cited a high rate of testing in UAE as the reason behind the rise in case numbers, arguing that the more people are tested the more infections will be uncovered.

The number of infections in the country have now fallen from a daily peak of 3,977 in February to roughly 1,300. Figures for each emirate are not disclosed by authorities.

Dubai is also expecting Expo 2020, which runs from October to March after being delayed by the pandemic last year, to be a draw for many tourists who have never visited before.


Picture used for illustrative purpose.

Expo organisers said before the coronavirus outbreak the event could attract 11 million foreign visitors. In the UAE’s north, Ras Al Khaimah emirate expects 915,000 visitors this year, a 14% increase on 2020 but still down from 1.1 million in 2019.

“I am cautiously optimistic that we will probably do better than that the way things are travelling but there is so much uncertainty,” Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority CEO Raki Phillips told Reuters.

Meanwhile, Dubai Holding, a diversified global holding company with operations in over 13 countries, has participated in Arabian Travel Market 2021, the region’s largest trade and consumer event and a key fixture on the global travel and tourism calendar. Held as a hybrid event under the theme ‘A New Dawn for Travel and Tourism’, Dubai Holding is represented by Jumeirah, Global Village, Hatta Resorts, Hatta Wadi Hub and Dubai Parks & Resorts, to showcase the breadth of Dubai’s tourism proposition.

Jumeirah, Dubai Holding’s flagship hospitality brand and global luxury hotel company, has highlighted its latest updates and progress relating to its growth and expansion plans, and shared insights around boosting guest experience over the past year. Ranked among the most iconic homegrown brands from the UAE, Jumeirah operates 23 properties and +6,500 keys, with a growing hotel portfolio across the Middle East, Europe and Asia in line with its vision to continuously raise the bar in the global hospitality industry.

As part of Dubai Holding’s ongoing partnership with Dubai Tourism, Hatta, one of the UAE’s most popular eco-friendly adventure destinations, has also participated in ATM, revealing the highlights from its recently concluded and highly successful season at Hatta Wadi Hub and Hatta Resorts. The season has seen the addition of Hatta Dome Park, an exciting new glamping experience by Dubai Holding. Since it first opened to the public in 2018, Hatta Wadi Hub, which includes Hatta Resorts, has been running for three consecutive seasons, having welcomed more than 500,000 visitors from more than 120 nationalities to date. Dubai Holding has played a key role in building Hatta’s tourism and investment potential, showcasing the beautiful mountain destination and its dynamic offering to the world. Dubai Holding will continue to contribute to the Hatta Development Plan, which is part of the Leadership’s vision and forms a key constituent of the newly launched Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan.

Global Village, the UAE and wider region’s multicultural family destination for culture, shopping, and entertainment, concluded its Silver Jubilee season earlier this month, garnering strong visitor footfall and international recognition. The season finale saw the “highest altitude skydiving fireworks display”, making it the 25th Guinness World Record for Global Village in just six months – a decision taken at the start of the season by its ambitious team to honour the milestone anniversary.

Dubai Parks & Resorts, the Middle East’s largest integrated leisure and theme park destination, has also highlighted its latest offerings aimed at bringing new and unrivalled experiences that appeal to visitors of all ages and interests.

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