The UAE’s Ministry of Economy has revealed that the country’s tourism sector exhibited outstanding performance in 2020 despite the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the sector being among the least impacted and swiftest to recover globally.
In 2020, the UAE’s hotel occupancy rate was second only to China across the globe with 54.7 percent. While the global rate fell to 37 percent due to the pandemic, hotels in the Middle East region registered only 43 percent occupancy.
This is in addition to a major drop in tourist activity, which witnessed a decrease by 74 percent globally and 76 percent in the country.
According to official statistics released by the World Tourism Organisation and the Emirates Tourism Council, hospitality establishments welcomed 14.8 million guests in 2020, who spent 54.2 million nights in 1,089 different establishments with approximately 180,000 rooms.
The average guest stay was 3.7 nights, with a return of $86.7 per bed. Domestic tourism, on the other hand, brought in $11.1 billion to the UAE economy last year, an amount that is projected to double in the coming years.
Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and Small and Medium Enterprises remarked that “the global tourism industry bore the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic. Guided by the directives of its wise leadership, the UAE was able to quickly contain the outbreak’s impact on the local tourism sector, relying on innovation and agility in its efforts to provide incentives, launch initiatives, and create opportunities to accelerate the recovery of the tourism sector and boost its contribution to GDP.”
According to Mr. Al Falasi, the next stage will include more initiatives aimed at maintaining the sector’s strong performance and improving recovery prospects.
“The tourism sector’s accomplishments over the past year are a result of the notable efforts made by all relevant parties to promote the sector at the federal and local levels. This is in addition to the proactive measures the UAE implemented to deal with the outbreak and minimize its impact on public health,” Mr. Al Falasi added.
According to global tourism statistics, China ranked first in the world in hotel occupancy rates with 58 percent, followed by the UAE in second place with 54.7 percent, and the US in third place with 37 percent.