Dubai’s tourism sector has led its rebound path successfully despite the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic. While marking a year of reopening its borders to international tourists the emirate welcomed 3.7 million overnight visitors during the 11-month period from July 2020 to May 2021.
The positive performance reinforces the leading role Dubai is playing in global tourism recovery, underscoring the city’s enduring appeal as a must-visit destination and reaffirming its commitment to ensuring the health and safety of all residents and visitors.
“The new data reveals that Dubai’s tourism rebound is gathering pace despite the current challenges faced by international markets. The growing momentum of recovery not only reflects the fundamental strengths of Dubai’s tourism sector and the diversity of its source markets but also the emirate’s economic resilience and agility in the face of a rapidly fluctuating global environment.”
The border closures and movement restrictions imposed to curb the COVID-19 pandemic severely affected the travel and tourism sector with more than $4.5 trillion loss of revenue for the industry in last year. Its contribution to global GDP slipped to 5.5 percent, from 10.4 percent in 2019, said a World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) report published in May.
Job losses in the sector were also a major issue as the number of people working in the industry fell by 18.5 percent, leading to 62 million layoffs, the report said. In the Middle East, travel and tourism’s contribution to GDP fell 51.1 percent last year.
In Dubai, domestic tourism softened the blow caused by the pandemic with the emirate’s hotels welcoming 5.5 million visitors during the 11 months to May, an increase of 106 percent on the 2.66 million visitors in the same period a year earlier. Higher occupancy rates are also pushing up hotel revenues, with average daily room rates recovering to $104.2 by May 2021, from $64.79 when the emirate reopened last July.
Guest numbers were also boosted by the return of in-person exhibitions and trade shows such as GITEX, Gulfood and Arabian Travel Market, with the emirate hosting 3,136 events between September 2020 and mid-May, attended by 813,832 delegates, the statement said.
Dubai’s rigorous precautionary COVID-19 protocols made the city a safe destination for travelers. “As we gear up to host Expo 2020, these exceptional standards will enable us to ensure the event provides the highest global benchmarks of safety and security for all visitors,” Mr.Sheikh Hamdan said.