Business tourism is playing a big role in shoring up the number of arrivals of visitors in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi. According to experts, the Meetings Incentives Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) segment now contributes around 20-30% of the tourists to the UAE.
A total of 29,000 new hotel rooms are expected to come up in Dubai in the next two years which will then increase the number of existing hotel rooms from 84,000 rooms to 113,000 by 2016.
Along with a very developed hospitality sector, what has worked to Dubai’s advantage is its connectivity by air. It has direct connections to around 260 destinations all over world making it an ideal venue to stage global conventions. The business travel segment is expected to get a further boost as many corporate events are likely to be hosted in Dubai in the lead-up to the Expo 2020.
While Dubai has established itself as a viable venue for big ticket global conventions and exhibitions, stakeholders in the business travel industry are also looking to stage smaller conferences and meetings to boost their revenues. Most of the big conventions are not annual events, while regional conferences and meetings can be staged every year.
Abu Dhabi has also steadily risen up the rungs in the popularity charts among the favored host cities for conferences and exhibitions. It is now in the list of top 100 cities prepared by the International Congress and Convention Association. The business tourism sector is expected to witness a 7% annual growth fueled by the growth of the hospitality and the aviation sectors.
A distinct advantage that Abu Dhabi enjoys over Dubai involves cheaper hotel rates. Average room rates in the capital city are pegged at Dh447.60 compared to Dubai’s Dh1177.74.
* A total of 29,000 new hotel rooms expected to come up in Dubai
* Business travel set to witness 7% annual growth in Abu Dhabi
* Average room rates in Abu Dhabi lower compared to Dubai’s
Source: S. Dhar, Special to Properties
The writer is a freelancer