By Tamara Walid www.arabianbusiness.com
The number of guests at Dubai’s hotels rose to 4.2 million in the first half of this year, up 9 percent from the previous year, driven by rising demand from Asia and the Gulf Arab region, official data showed on Monday.
Hotels revenue was up 6 percent to $1.88 billion in the period while occupancy rates stood at 71.7 percent, the UAE’s official news agency WAM said, citing the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing.
Tourism in Dubai, the Middle East trade and business hub, was hard hit by the global financial crisis as consumers tightened spending and slashed their travel budgets.
The emirate, which suffered the sharpest drops in hotels revenue regionally in 2009, is seeing signs of recovery with improved occupancies as it emerges from the global financial crisis. Dubai, one of seven members of the United Arab Emirates, is famous for its opulent hotels.
The number of hotels in the emirate increased by 7 percent in the first-half to 566, while hotel rooms grew 16 percent to 67,369.
The highest increase in tourists came from Gulf Arab states, up 20 percent to 494,000, followed by visitors from Asia with an increase of 17 percent, reaching around 1 million guests.
Guests from Europe grew 3 percent to 1.3 million, while visitors from the Americas were up 7 percent to 335,000.
The United Kingdom was Dubai’s biggest tourism partner in the period, while Saudi Arabia came first regionally, the statement said. ($1=3.672 UAE Dirham) (Reuters)