Dubai reaches world-leading hotel occupancy
Dubai attracted 7.12 million international overnight visitors between January and June 2022, compared to the 2.52 million tourists who visited Dubai during the same period in 2021. This positive trend in H1 2022 places the city firmly on track to achieve its tourism goals for 2022 and beyond, and further reinforces its position as an international destination of choice.
His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, said: “The vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to make Dubai the city of the future and the world’s best place to live, work and invest in has resulted in a resurgence of Dubai’s tourism sector. The growth in tourists reflects the resilience and dynamism of the emirate’s economy. His Highness’s vision has helped Dubai create a strong and stable economic foundation and a dynamic business ecosystem, enabling it to become a leading global hub for diverse sectors. The rapid rise in international tourist arrivals puts Dubai on track to achieve its ambitious target of becoming the world’s most visited destination. In the years ahead, Dubai will continue to develop itself further as a destination that offers compelling value to international travellers.”
The number of tourists recorded in H1 2022 was close to the numbers achieved in the first six months of 2019, which saw 8.36 million tourists arriving in Dubai. The emirate’s ability to quickly return to near pre-pandemic tourism levels is even more remarkable given the impact of unprecedented challenges and other macroeconomic factors on the global economy and tourism sector.
The wide range of hotel establishments in Dubai presented yet another stellar performance across all hospitality metrics during the first half of 2022. Average occupancy for the hotel sector between January and June 2022 stood at 74 per cent, one of the world’s highest, compared to 62 per cent in H1 2021, a difference of 12 percentage points and just short of the 76 per cent occupancy level registered during the pre-pandemic period of H1 2019.
This is particularly noteworthy as it was achieved in spite of a +19 per cent increase in room capacity over the same period in 2019. Dubai’s hotel inventory by the end of June 2022 comprised 140,778 rooms open at 773 hotel establishments, compared to 118,345 rooms available at the end of June 2019 across 714 establishments. Meanwhile, the total number of hotels in H1 2022 marked an 8 per cent growth over H1 2021, highlighting continued strong investor confidence in Dubai’s tourism sector.
The hotel sector outperformed pre-pandemic levels across all other key measurements – Occupied Room Nights, Average Daily Rate (ADR) and Revenue per Available Room (RevPAR). Dubai hotel establishments delivered a combined 18.47million occupied room nights during the first six months of the year, a +30.4 per cent YoY growth, and a +18 per cent increase over the pre-pandemic period of H1 2019, which yielded 15.71 million occupied room nights.
In addition, the ADR of Dh567 in the first half of the year surpassed the ADRs for both H1 2021 (Dh382) and 2019 (Dh444). The robust performance of the hotel sector is also evident in RevPAR growth – a surge of over 76 per cent compared to the first six months of 2021 (Dh417) and an increase of 24 per cent over the pre-pandemic period in 2019 (RevPAR of Dh336).
According to hotel analytics firm STR, Dubai ranks No.3 globally on RevPAR ($147), after Paris ($195) and New York ($172).
From a regional perspective, Western Europe accounted for a significant share of tourist arrivals, comprising 22 per cent of total international visitors in the first six months of 2022. MENA and GCC continued to make an impact, collectively contributing 34 per cent of total international visitors and highlighting Dubai’s strong appeal to visitors from surrounding markets as a trusted and preferred destination.These regions were followed closely by South Asia with a share of 16 per cent and Russia, CIS and Eastern Europe together accounting for 11 per cent of total visitors in H1 2022. The wide geographic spread reflects Dubai’s diversified strategy aimed at driving traffic from a broad spectrum of countries and visitor segments.
Dubai bags 99 major meetings bids this H1
Dubai has consolidated its position as a leading destination for international business events in the first half of 2022, securing the rights to host 99 major conferences, congresses, incentive travel programmes and other meetings over the forthcoming years. These wins underscore Dubai’s compelling business proposition, including its strong track record in hosting large-scale international events and as a platform for networking and knowledge-sharing.
Over the first six months of 2022, Dubai Business Events (DBE), Dubai’s official convention bureau, collaborated with stakeholders across the emirate and the wider UAE to register 99 successful bid wins. These events are set to attract more than 77,000 delegates and yield over 330,000 hotel room nights over the coming years. In line with the strategic priority placed on securing business events, these bid wins are set to boost Dubai’s events, hospitality and related tourism sectors in addition to advancing the wider economy by bringing expertise and knowledge from around the world.
DBE submitted 200 bids and proposals for international business events in H1 2022, with several bids yet to be determined. Dubai’s successful event wins in 2022 so far include the International Congress of the World Confederation for Physical Therapy (2023), IFOS ENT World Congress (2023), Congress of the Asia Pacific Orthopaedic Association (2024) and International Congress of Endocrinology (2024).
In addition, key corporate events and incentive travel programmes to be hosted in Dubai include Sun Pharmaceuticals Industries’ Annual Convention and Incentive (2022) and IBM Best in Tech (2023).