This is a re-post of a feature from Arabian Business »

Dubai’s hospitality sector is back in business.

If first quarter figures in 2022 are anything to go by, one can safely say Dubai’s hospitality sector is most definitely back. Between January and March this year, the emirate welcomed 3.97 million overnight visitors, according to figures released by the Department of Economy and Tourism. That represents a massive 214 per cent growth vis-à-vis the same period last year. Equally impressive, Dubai ranked first globally in terms of hotel occupancy in the first quarter of 2022, registering an 82 per cent occupancy rate during the first three months, beating London (56 per cent), New York (55.3 per cent) and Paris (51.2 per cent), as per data from hotel management analytics firm STR.

That is a massive achievement that reflects the wisdom of Dubai’s tourism strategy that has made the emirate the global poster city for post-pandemic recovery.

Compelling reasons

The staging of the Expo 2020 Dubai has obviously been a big draw for both domestic and international tourists, with the global event attracting nearly 24 million visitors during its six-month run. Beyond that, however, Dubai’s appeal as an international hub for business, tourism and leisure could be attributed to its strategic, multi-pronged approach to the hospitality sector that includes establishing a world-class infrastructure, providing a safe environment and organising a plethora of events and activities that are essential elements to attracting tourists and travellers from around the world.

In a statement released during a regional travel exhibition held in Dubai earlier this year, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai said, “These results attest to the emirate’s ability to develop a compelling value proposition…and innovative new offerings that meet the needs and preferences of the most discerning of global travellers.”

This value proposition includes a large collection of superb hotels and dining outlets, as well as a robust and modern transport network that makes it easy and convenient for anyone to go around. The city boasts an impressive range of tourism spots and landmarks that include the tallest building in the world, and the most beautiful, with the recent launch of the Museum of the Future.

Dubai offers a gastronomic journey unlike any other city, with some of the world’s best restaurants providing culinary masterpieces that appeal to different tastes and budgets.

Every year, hundreds of business conferences and events take place in Dubai, as well as entertainment and leisure activities that draw millions of visitors from all corners of the globe. The entertainment industry’s biggest names have been to Dubai to perform, while celebrities have on a regular basis been known to visit the emirate to enjoy its luxury resorts and holiday destinations.

In addition, Dubai offers some of the most exciting retail and shopping experiences with a plethora of malls offering a wide selection of brands – from fashion to gadgets and everything in between.

Sustaining the momentum

As if these numbers were not enough, Dubai is bent on sustaining its momentum towards the end of the year as it seeks to broaden its appeal to new and diversified market segments, while also attempting to increase lengths of stay as well as encouraging repeat visits.

It certainly helps that a fresh pipeline of developments will see 10,000 rooms added to Dubai’s hotel industry in the second half of this year, according to JLL’s Q2 2022 UAE Real Estate Market report, which also estimates that approximately 333,000 square metres of retail space will be completed in Dubai for the remainder of 2022.

Adding to Dubai’s favour is the staging of the World Cup in Qatar in November, which will provide an extra boost to hotel occupancy in the emirate as tens of thousands of football fans are expected to make the city their base during the course of the world’s most watched sporting spectacle.

Dubai’s F&B sector is also expected to benefit from the massive influx of tourists, with various outlets already preparing special offers and football-focused experiences such as mini fan zones and big screen installations.

Moving forward

Despite its well-established reputation as a global economic and tourism hub, Dubai is certainly not letting up in its desire to further its ambition to be the world’s most sought-after travel destination.

New legislative initiatives have been introduced, such as increasing the duration of the tourist visa from 30 days to 60 days that will commence in September, which will further boost visitor arrivals and encourage visitors to stay longer in the city.

Expect new developments in the hospitality, retail and leisure industries from private sector developers who would want to leverage opportunities being offered by Dubai’s robust tourism industry that will in turn contribute to its future growth.

With all these coming together, Dubai’s hospitality sector can look forward to more business than usual not only for the rest of the year, but for the years to come.