Dubai has announced a year-on-year increase in visitor figures for Q2 2009, reaffirming its position as one of the world’s leading tourism destinations. The emirate saw 1,857,724 global visitors from April to June 2009 representing a four per cent increase on the same period in 2008. The UK and Ireland together remains the largest source market, with 196,554 visitors during the Q2 period, representing 10.6 per cent of the emirate’s total visitor market.
Despite the global economic slowdown, which has undoubtedly affected international tourism, Dubai is starting to show the green shoots of recovery. And the emirate’s strong performance is building momentum and continuing into the third quarter of 2009 with five-star beach hotels posting an average occupancy of 90 per cent in the first week of August 2009. These growing figures are a remarkable achievement during a year of recession, especially when compared to 2008 which was itself a year of record-breaking visitor numbers for Dubai.
Ian Scott, director UK and Ireland for Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), comments on Dubai’s performance so far in 2009 and its outlook for the future: “Dubai is part of the global economy and as so it has, of course, been affected by the economic downturn. The Government of Dubai has reacted quickly and appropriately with high-profile advertising campaigns, tactical promotional activity, as well as travel trade familiarisation trips, sales incentives and educational events so that Dubai remains front of mind. And investment in the product continues, contrary to some reports, at a time when slashing budgets would be the easier option. Throughout this challenging period, we have remained realistic but confident, even in the face of criticism. And although there is a long way to go we are managing the situation - the figures speak for themselves showing that Dubai is on the road to recovery.”
The decision by Dubai’s ruler, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to diversify into tourism has proved invaluable during these tough times and will provide long term sustainability. Furthermore, the infrastructure which has been developed will enable Dubai to recover from the downturn faster and more effectively than other less developed destinations.
There is still, of course, a way to go and the Government of Dubai is continuing to work hard to drive growth and visitors throughout the remainder of 2009 and beyond. This summer the DTCM has launched the “Kids Go Free” promotion and a new advertising campaign will start in early September. These initiatives and the DTCM’s extensive work with the travel trade plus the ongoing development of the Dubai Expert online training programme and Dubai Update e-newsletter will enable Dubai to emerge from the global downturn stronger than before.