Despite COVID, Dubai welcomes 3.7mn overseas visitors: Official data

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Dubai, Jul 8 (PTI) International tourism hub Dubai welcomed 3.7 million overnight visitors during the 11-month period from July 2020 to May 2021, the tourism department here has said, as the city marked a year since reopening its borders to overseas tourists amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dubai reopened to international tourists on July 7, 2020.

According to the latest data published by Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism), the emirate received more than 1.7 million visitors between July and December 2020 from markets that were open, and an additional two million visitors in the first five months of 2021.

“The new data reveals that Dubai's tourism rebound is gathering pace despite the current challenges faced by international markets. Dubai's ability to implement a rigorous precautionary protocol regime has made the city one of the world's safest destinations for travellers.

'As we gear up to host Expo 2020, these exceptional standards will enable us ensure the event provides the highest global benchmarks of safety and security for all visitors,” said Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai.

According to a statement released here, the evolving travel landscape has brought forth some noteworthy performances from feeder and emerging markets, especially CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries like Kazakhstan and Ukraine, and East African markets Ethiopia and Sudan, that have all exhibited strong growth potential to be among the top 15 source markets for Dubai since it reopened its doors to global travellers.

Hotel occupancy in Dubai peaked in December 2020 (69 per cent) and in January 2021 (66 per cent) with the city ranking second globally in terms of occupancy after Singapore and ahead of Paris and London, according to data from hotel management analytics firm STR.

Despite the disruption caused by COVID-19 across sectors, Dubai continues to represent a major opportunity for hotel developers, it said.

A total of 591 hotel establishments with 100,000 rooms were operating in July 2020 in full compliance with health and safety protocols. This has now increased to 715 hotel establishments offering 128,000 rooms in May 2021.

City hotels welcomed 5.5 million domestic visitors between July 2020 and May 2021, compared to 2.66 million domestic hotel arrivals during the period July 2019 to May 2020, an astounding year-on-year growth of 106 per cent, it said.

Several safety initiatives were launched, including a wide range of precautionary measures, in addition to effective testing and vaccination programmes.

Dubai Tourism, Department of Economic Development and Dubai Municipality are also taking a zero-tolerance approach towards non-compliance.

Dubai’s extensive and sustained efforts at containing the pandemic won international recognition with the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) awarding the city a ‘Safe Travels’ stamp.

In addition to restarting leisure events, Dubai also developed a successful model for the recovery of the business events sector, which paved the way for the resumption of international events in October and subsequently the hosting of mega events such as GITEX in December 2020 and Gulfood, Arabian Travel Market and Arab Health in February, May and June respectively this year.

Since September 2020 to mid-May, Dubai hosted a total of 3,136 business events that were attended by 813,832 delegates. PTI Corr RS RS

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