Dubai’s appeal as a tourist destination continues to increase at a startling pace, and the emirate is preparing to treble its annual income from tourism by 2020.
The ambitious target reflects the increasing global appeal of Dubai holidays, with visitors drawn to the city for its superb and reliable weather, great shopping and remarkable architectural marvels. And while the global financial crisis dealt Dubai something of a blow in recent times, it seems its reputation internationally has not been negatively impacted.
The number of visitors to Dubai jumped by 9.3 per cent in 2012, with 10.2 million tourists visiting across the year. Occupancy of its 599 hotels, consisting of just over 80,000 rooms, was at 78 per cent.
Helal Almarri, director-general of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, suggested that Dubai’s hotel capacity could increase to 160,000 by 2020, with 20 million tourist visits per year expected by then.
While Dubai has been long known as a decadent destination full of luxury hotels, Almarri believes that it is important to diversify its offering in order to attract tourists with a range of tastes and budgets. Almarri said, "The importance in our growth is to have a mix of hotels. Over the last five years the hotel offering in Dubai has become more diversified."
There will also be a focus on increasing the average length of stay of tourists visiting Dubai, with a plan to improve the emirate’s entertainment facilities. Almarri added "I have every confidence that we will have over the next three to four years coming on line a significant number of tourist attractions which are purely entertainment-like theme parks.”
With this dedication to improving Dubai as a tourist destination, it seems that its global appeal is only set to increase further.