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Tourism weathers global downturn

posted on 30/04/2009: 1273 views



Dubai is one of the few international destinations to see an increase in visitors over the last year, successfully retaining its position as a world-class tourism and trade hub.

Despite the economic climate, visitors to Dubai reached an all-time high of 6,996,449 in 2008, and even though the pace of growth has slowed, this increase reaffirms the emirate's position as one of the world's most popular destinations. Having developed a highly desirable and increasingly diversified premium tourism product, Dubai continues to meet the needs of an ever-expanding audience. With so much to offer both leisure and business visitors, from groundbreaking attractions to world-class hospitality, it is little wonder that Dubai is experiencing such significant growth. And this increase in visitor figures has led to an impressive 15 per cent increase in hotel revenues for 2008 to Dh13.4 billion.

One of the major contributors to Dubai's growth in 2008 is the range of exciting new hotel developments that continue to fuel increased visitor demand. Dubai continues to feature an impressive portfolio of increasingly diversified hotels, with last year seeing a 16 per cent increase in the number of hotel rooms and hotel apartments to 49,598. Last year, Atlantis The Palm opened its doors, boasting a 50-acre water park plus fine-dining restaurants Nobu and Locatelli.

Another grand opening was that of the 63-storey The Address Downtown Burj Dubai, providing the ultimate five-star experience with unique views of the world's tallest tower, Burj Dubai. Other recent key hotel openings include Per Aquum's Desert Palm hotel - a beautiful boutique retreat located in Dubai's desert with a world class spa. In addition, the emirate expanded its portfolio of affordable luxury hotels to include a Premier Inn, three Holiday Inn Express hotels as well as two Ibis hotels, with a further two Ibis hotels due to open in 2009.

This year has got off to a very positive start too. In January, Dubai witnessed a year-on-year growth of six per cent in passenger traffic at Dubai International Airport (following nine per cent growth for the whole of 2008, a year where total passenger numbers reached 37.44 million).

Passenger traffic through the Middle East's busiest hub reached 3.3 million in January compared to 3.1 million in the same month of 2008. And according to Airports Council International's figures, Dubai International Airport was the only airport among the top 10 worldwide to register growth in the last quarter of 2008.

That the airport continues to register significant growth is a positive indicator for the travel industry worldwide.

Ian Scott, director UK and Ireland of Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing, comments on the emirate's outlook for 2009: "Dubai continues to attract visitors from around the world, with 2008 seeing an all-time high of almost seven million people visiting the emirate." – Gulf News

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