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Dubai and Sharjah witnessed similar growth rates in the number of hotel guests last year, according to statistics released by tourism entities from both emirates.
Dubai’s hotel establishments welcomed more than 11.6 million guests last year, registering a 5.6 per cent increase on 2013, according to the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM). Sharjah attracted more than two million guests last year, according to the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA), up 5 per cent from around 1.9 million guests in 2013.
Dubai’s top ten hotel guest source markets remained almost entirely unchanged from 2013, with only slight shifts in positioning as Saudi Arabia was once again the top source market, followed by India, the UK, the US, Iran, Oman, China, Kuwait, Russia and Germany.
Asia powers up
China moved from tenth to seventh place with a 24.9 per cent growth in the past 12 months with 344,329 hotel guests compared to 275,675 in 2013. India (ranked 2nd) and the UK (ranked 3rd) also showed significant increases in the number of hotel guests, rising 12.2 per cent and 11.3 per cent respectively.
The UAE federal ruling in March last year that exempted citizens of 13 European member states from requiring a pre-entry visa to the UAE — joining the other 15 European member states where the exemption already applied — contributed to an increase in hotel guest numbers from those countries.
“The 5.6 per cent increase occurred despite the decrease in the number of Russian visitors,” said Helal Saeed Al Marri, Director General of DTCM.
“Due to the long-held strategy and collaborative commitment between DTCM and our partners to diversify our inbound markets, Dubai’s tourism industry is insulated from any short-term fluctuations in any one market. This year we will continue to work with our partners to increase market share from newer markets.”
Dubai’s hotel portfolio increased from 84,534 rooms across 611 properties in 2013 to 92,333 rooms across 657 properties last year. Revenues for hoteliers and hotel apartment operators saw significant growth, reaching a total of Dh23.9 billion, up by 9.8 per cent from Dh21.8 billion in 2013.
Sharjah in demand
Meanwhile, Mohamed Ali Al Noman, Chairman of SCTDA, noted the growing appeal of Sharjah for European tourists, whose numbers rose 17 per cent from 349,670 in 2013 to 409,585 last year.
Al Noman, who led a delegation from Sharjah at last week’s ITB 2015 travel trade show in Berlin, Germany, said there are 106 hotel establishments in the emirate (50 hotels and 56 hotel apartments), while the number of hotel rooms has reached 10,000.
Source: Property Weekly