uaes traveltourism sector proves
Last Updated : GMT 09:07:40
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Last Updated : GMT 09:07:40
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Mettle amid tough times

UAE's travel,tourism sector proves

Egypt Today, egypt today

Egypt Today, egypt today UAE's travel,tourism sector proves

The upcoming Dubai Safari Park on Hatta road
Dubai - Egypt Today

Despite the challenging conditions that affected markets across the globe, the UAE's travel and tourism sector remained resilient in 2017, buoyed by an increase in Chinese and Indian visitors.

"The UAE continues to be one of the fastest-growing tourism regions in the world," Khaled Sharabassy, general manager of Tilal Liwa Hotel, told Khaleej Times. "Despite the ever-increasing and unpredictable economic and political instability [in parts of the region], the travel and tourism industry in the UAE continued to show its resilience in 2017, and we anticipate a robust 2018."

He added that the various UAE destinations offer tourists plenty of things to do - from the iconic skylines of Dubai, to popular landmarks in Abu Dhabi and the world-famous beach resorts in Ras Al Khaimah. Visitors are also eager to explore the country's Bedouin past on starry desert nights in Sharjah, and visit the many historical forts dotted across the nation.

While 2016 was marked by the opening of several mega theme parks, 2017 also saw the arrival of many highly-anticipated projects. The opening of the Etihad Museum in Dubai early in the year ensured that 2017 was off to a great start, and the long-awaited opening of Louvre Abu Dhabi most recently also put the country on the map for international visitors.

Sharabassy noted the steady growth of guests from the Far East and European markets. "Americans, Europeans, and the Chinese in particular, are fast becoming the main source market not only for us, but in the region, and we anticipate that it will continue to be so."

His observations were echoed by Moussa El Hayek, COO of Al Bustan Centre and Residence, who added that in addition to tourist groups from the CIS and Chinese markets round the year, there was a strong growth from other distribution channels in the Indian Sub-continent.

"Although Dubai has major attractions like the Burj Khalifa, which has always been a highlight destination, new attractions like the Dubai Canal and Dubai Parks and Resorts have also been quite popular. We also see developments in the neighbouring emirates with Louvre Abu Dhabi, or the natural beauty of the Northern Emirates that has attained attention in recent times," he revealed.

He added: "Tourism establishments have witnessed both highs and lows this year, due to challenging market conditions. The prime focus was to venture into untapped markets and reach out to newer customer segments. We hope the upcoming year will bring in fruition to our efforts made in 2017."

Habib Khan, general manager of Arabian Courtyard Hotel & Spa, noted that the overall performance of their property in Dubai is bit low, and that the main impact has been on revenue and average daily revenue, which is down by seven to 10 per cent. "Occupancy is more or less the same, but the rate is getting affected month after month; revenue is down by 10 per cent compared to last year. We are witnessing a shift of markets, and now in the top 10 of Dubai's main source markets, western regions and being replaced by China, India, Iran and Pakistan, which are price-sensitive markets; this is affecting the revenue of the hotel due to less spenders," he said.

Citing a 2017 Dubai Tourism report, Glenn Nobbs, general manager of Copthorne Hotel Dubai, said that the total number of international guests into Dubai had risen by 7.5 per cent from the same period in 2016.

"The city is still experiencing positive numbers of visitors and continued visitation from India, China, Saudi Arabia, the UK and Oman. However, the average spend is not where it was last year. In addition, 2017 has had hotel supply outstripping demand, adding pressure on rates. We have seen a marked increase in Chinese and Indian travellers, a decrease from the GCC, and the booking pattern remains the same with majority booked within zero to three days of arrival."

Speaking about the situation in the capital, Ahmed Margoushy, general manager of Danat Al Ain Resort, said that the industry is still receiving a high number of visitors especially in the four and five-star properties. "Overall, there was an average occupancy recorded but the RevPAR has declined due to oversupply. Although the demand from the GCC has fallen short, we had increase from markets like China, Russia and other Far East destinations."

According to figures released by the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism, the capital witnessed an 18 per cent annual increase in hotel guest arrivals during October, with 418,883 guests checking into the emirate's 163 hotels and hotel apartments. The cumulative number of guest arrivals for the first 10 months of 2017 has increased to reach more than 3.9 million, representing growth of eight per cent on the year and keeping the emirate on track to surpass last year's record total of 4.4 million.

Greg D'Souza, director of sales and marketing at Millennium Plaza Dubai, noted that overall travel trends have been "rather last-minute".

"There is demand in the market which is satiated over an array of new hotels. We have had our fair share of visitors with an increase over last year. Summer, overall, has been decent as well, and we expect to see a few more peaks in the months to come. Once again, the bookings come in within a shorter booking window unlike in the past years


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