UAE anticipating major growth in tourism numbers

Arabian Travel Market

Data published ahead of the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2019 highlighted that Expo 2020 and its legacy, District 2020, will have a positive influence on the growth of inbound arrivals to the UAE from the country’s top five source markets between 2018 and 2023.

The frequency of Indian visitors travelling to the UAE will increase at a CAGR of seven per cent to 3.01 million in 2023, while arrivals from Saudi Arabia and the UK will witness an increase of two per cent and one per cent to 1.76 million and 1.28 million respectively during the corresponding period.

Adding to this, research by Colliers International in partnership with ATM has revealed that Russian and Chinese source markets will experience above average annual growth rates for inbound passenger arrivals.

All Time Aviation

Exhibition director – Middle East, ATM, Danielle Curtis commented “The number of Russian tourists travelling to the UAE will increase at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 12 per cent to 1.6 million in 2023, while the number of Chinese tourists visiting the UAE will increase at a CAGR of eight per cent to 1.27 million over the same period, according to the data.”

Tourism boards from the UAE, as well as 93 other UAE-based exhibitors, will be working on expanding their share of these high-growth markets at this year’s ATM.

Curtis noted: “Taking a look at the other key drivers, besides Expo 2020, Russian visitors to the UAE have grown in recent years, due to the introduction of additional and direct airline routes. Russian visitors also now benefit from relaxed UAE visa regulations and rising oil prices are helping to strengthen the Russian rouble, making the UAE more affordable.

“Regarding Chinese visitors, according to some analysts China’s middle-class will swell to 338 million households by 2020, a 13 per cent increase in just five years. Moreover, by 2030, 35 per cent of China’s 1.4 billion population will have $10,000 of annual disposable income, up 10 per cent from 2018. Therefore, the growth potential for both markets is significant,” she added.

With 20 million annual visitors set to visit Dubai by 2020, plus an additional five million between October 2020 and April 2021 (70 per cent of which will come from outside the UAE), the overall hospitality supply in the emirate is expected to increase by 39 per cent from 59,561 keys in 2017 to 82,994 in 2021, to cater to demand.

Meanwhile in Abu Dhabi, the number of rooms across three-, four- and five-star properties is expected to increase by 13 per cent from 21,782 in 2017 to 24,565 in 2021.

Curtis stated: “Just as Dubai and Abu Dhabi have their own unique set of visitor attractions, we are now seeing the northern emirates carving stronger identities, supported by their respective tourism authorities. And, while Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah and Fujairah are smaller than Dubai and Abu Dhabi in terms of supply, they are evolving quickly.”

Ras Al Khaimah is working on more than doubling its hotel rooms from 4,019 in 2017 to 9,078 in 2021, while the number of hotel rooms in Sharjah is also expected to more than double between 2017 and 2021, taking the total number of hotel rooms in the emirate to 5,295 by 2021. Finally, Fujairah will add almost 500 rooms during the same time frame, boosting its total stock to 2,543 rooms.