Tourism is booming, say Dubai officials

Government officials are dismissing talks of “Dubai Doom” by saying tourism in the emirate is performing well despite the global financial crisis.

Dubai registered average occupancy rates of 81 percent in the first quarter of 2009, Khalid bin Sulayem, Director-General, Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) told a meeting of Dubai Economic Council this week.He said Dubai had maintained this occupancy rate since 2004, which is the highest compared to many other major cities including London, Paris, New York, Tokyo and Singapore.

“Evidence includes the number of visitors to Dubai increasing from 6.9 million in 2007 to 7.5 million in 2008,” he said, adding that the growth average of guests was 5 percent during the first quarter of 2009 compared to 2008, which is considered “good”, given the present economic climate throughout the world.

The growth rate of the number of hotels and hotel apartments reached 9 per cent, and the number of rooms available was 17 per cent, he said.

He cited that were the results of a number of factors, in particular initiatives by the government to face to support the tourism sector, including the current advertising and promotion activities, plus the roll-out of new infrastructure.


Preliminary World Tourism Barometer figures from the UNWTO show an 8% decline in tourism in the MENA region, while the UAE showed a 3% growth over the same period, attributed to concerted government polices and aggressive representation - including reduced fares on Emirates Airlines and pressure to reduce hotel rates.

This week Dubai kicks off a ‘kids go free’ promotion in an attempt to lure families. More than 70 properties and attractions around Dubai are offering free entry for children as part of the promotion.