Dubai hotels see record numbers for first half of 2014

Dubai's hotels saw more than 5.8 million tourists in the first half of 2014 - reportedly the highest number of visitors ever achieved in the first six months of a year, according to Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing. The emirate has seen increases across key indicators including hotel establishment guests, hotel and hotel apartment room revenues, F&B revenue and average length of stay.

Helal Saeed Almarri, Director-General of DTCM, said that the figures for the first half of 2014 are "encouraging" and show an increase in visitors from many key source markets: "For example, we are seeing strong growth from China, Brazil, Australia, and many countries in Europe." The increase, he added, is in spite of the reduction in flights due to the refurbishment and upgrading of the runways at Dubai International Airport.

Visitors and source markets

In the first half of 2014, guest numbers across all hotel establishments (hotels and hotel apartments) reached 5,828,449, an increase on figures for the same period in 2013. Dubai's top 10 tourism source markets remained for the most part unchanged compared to the previous year. The top 10 markets showed some slight changes in positioning and continue to show the diversity of visitors travelling to Dubai. Saudi Arabia, India, UK, USA, Russia, China, Iran, Oman, Kuwait and Germany made up the top ten for January to June 2014.

Guest nights, length of stay and hotel revenues

Hotels and hotel apartments saw steady growth in guest nights during the first half of the year with figures up by 6.7 percent for hotels and 4.1 percent for hotel apartments. Increasing the length of stay has been identified as a key driver of tourism growth across Dubai within the Tourism Vision for 2020, and average length of stay increased across the board, with an average of 3.9 days - length of stay in hotels increased to 3.4 days and hotel apartments to 5.7 days.

Revenues for hoteliers and hotel apartment operators saw significant growth - with total first half revenues reaching AED12.74billion (US$3.18bn) up by 10.9 percent. Hotels and hotel apartments reported increases in room revenue (15.3 percent) as well as F&B & other revenue, which rose by 3.8 percent.

"The figures we're seeing show steady growth for the first half of the year, demonstrating that we're on target for our medium-term plans," Almarri said in a statement. "More importantly, this growth is sustainable and we are moving in the right direction to reach our Tourism Vision for 2020 targets. In addition to the increase in hotel guest numbers, since the end of June 2013, Dubai has added more than 7,000 hotel rooms to its inventory, with the total now standing at 88,680 across 634 establishments."