How Dubai paved the way for hotels to deliver a stellar Q4 performance

Dubai welcomed 7.28 million overnight visitors in 2021, setting a momentous marker for global tourism recovery.

Dubai welcomed 7.28 million international overnight visitors between January and December 2021, representing 32 per cent YoY growth, establishing a momentous marker in the global tourism recovery, and setting the city firmly on course to achieve sustainable growth on its way to becoming the world’s most visited destination.

With domestic tourism accounting for a large share in the accommodation sector, Dubai’s hotels performed strongly in the fourth quarter to achieve significant growth across all hospitality metrics compared to 2020.

According to the latest data published by Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) international visitation to the city surpassed 3.4 million visitors in the fourth quarter of 2021, achieving 74 per cent of the total pre-pandemic tourist arrivals of Q4 2019, and paving the way for hotels in Dubai to deliver a stellar fourth quarter performance that surpassed pre-pandemic levels.

Hotels excel across the board

With domestic tourism accounting for a large share in the accommodation sector, Dubai’s hotels performed strongly in the fourth quarter to achieve significant growth across all hospitality metrics compared to 2020. For the first time, the hotel sector outperformed pre-pandemic levels across all measurements in Q4 2021 including over 81.4 percent occupancy compared to 80.7 per cent occupancy during Q4 2019.

Average occupancy, overall, reached 67 per cent in 2021 compared to 54 per cent in the previous year, which is among the highest occupancy rates internationally. Continued domestic and international investment into the sector also meant that, by the end of 2021, Dubai’s visitors and residents could choose from a total of 755 hotel establishments and 137,950 rooms, compared to 711 hotels establishments that were open with 126,947 rooms at the end of 2020. Guests also spent longer in Dubai’s hotels, with average length of stay reaching 4.6 nights (up from 4.2 nights in 2020), while the total of 31.47 million occupied room nights represented 53.7 per cent growth compared to 2020, and approximately 98 per cent of the occupied room nights of 2019. Dubai’s leading position globally and the strong performance by its hotels was highlighted by international hotel management analytics firm STR, which noted that “Dubai hotel room demand for 2021 equals London, Paris and Oslo – all put together.” According to STR the total number of rooms sold in Dubai during 2021 is almost one per cent of all rooms sold across the world.

Suggested Read: How Dubai underlined the importance of in-person business events

Showcasing Dubai through Expo 2020

The opening of Expo 2020 on 1 October 2021 marked the start of an incredible new era for the city’s tourism industry, highlighting efforts by Dubai and the UAE to celebrate the best of global business and culture and uniting together with nations in building a better world. As the first in-person global congregation of such magnitude since the onset of the pandemic, Expo 2020 Dubai continues to serve as a magnet for drawing more visitors to the city, attracting 11.6 million visits by residents and global travellers in the space of four months.

Supporting the city’s commitment to always offer something new, unique and world-class to every global traveller, 2021 saw further strides made in broadening Dubai’s appeal to a wide spectrum of visitors with the opening of new attractions and leisure destinations including Ain Dubai, Deep Dive Dubai, Hatta Dome Park and The View at The Palm, to name a few, while building on the destination pillars – from culture to cuisine, entertainment, outdoor adventures to beach activities, family-oriented experiences to shopping – as well as leveraging the opportunities provided by iconic festivals and events like the Dubai Shopping Festival, Dubai Summer Surprises, Dubai Fitness Challenge, Gulfood, ATM and Gitex to increase visitation by leisure and business travellers.

Across 2021, and now in 2022, Dubai continues to reap the benefits of the series of measures that were put in place at the outset of the pandemic that saw the city becoming one of the first destinations in the world to close, then open and remain open, starting with the effective public health campaign to contain the pandemic.

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