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Record of World’s 2nd Highest Hotel Occupancy Rate in 2020 secured by UAE, Emirati Tourism Sector Among Least Affected and Fastest to Recover

  • H.E. Al Falasi

Record of World’s 2nd Highest Hotel Occupancy Rate in 2020 secured by UAE, Emirati Tourism Sector Among Least Affected and Fastest to Recover

 

  • 14.8 million hotel guests in 2020, spent an average of 3.7 nights per guest.
  • 54.2 million nights spent at 1,089 hospitality establishment, which comes to a 54.7% occupancy rate.
  • AED41 billion generated from internal tourism in the UAE last year.
  • H.E. Dr Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi:
  • The next stage will include further initiatives focusing to maintain the sector’s outstanding performance and promote chances for recovery.
  • The UAE’s efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak established a sense of reassurance and helped create a safe environment to welcome tourists.
  • Strengthening domestic tourism is essential for making sure that the tourism sector’s full recovery

 

The Ministry of Economy, noting that the sector was among the least affected and fastest to recover around the world, revealed that The UAE tourism sector performed outstandingly in 2020 despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UAE has documented a 54.7% hotel occupancy rate in 2020 – the second highest in the world right after China – while the global rate fell to 37% due to the pandemic, and hotels in the Middle East region recorded just 43% occupancy. This is in balance with the significant decline in tourist activity, which fell by 74% around the world and 76% in the region.

Hospitality establishments greeted 14.8 million guests in 2020, who spent 54.2 million nights in 1,089 different establishments that provided approximately 180,000 rooms, according to official statistics issued by the World Tourism Organisation and the Emirates Tourism Council – established by the Council of Ministers in January 2021 and chaired by His Excellency Dr Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and Small and Medium Enterprises. This calculates the average stay to 3.7 nights per guest, with returns of AED318.5 per room. In the meantime, AED41 billion was contributed by domestic tourism to the national economy last year – which is expected to double in the forthcoming years. 

H.E. Al Falasi noted that “The global tourism industry bore the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic Guided by the directives of its wise leadership, the UAE was able to quickly contain the outbreak’s impact on the local tourism sector, relying on innovation and agility in its efforts to provide incentives, launch initiatives, and create opportunities to accelerate the recovery of the tourism sector and boost its contribution to GDP.”

“Despite the tremendous challenges it brought onto the industry, the pandemic also created new opportunities for domestic tourism, with a surge in demand recorded over the past year, especially during the holidays and vacation season, and some establishments even reporting full occupancy. This reflects the high quality of the services the sector provides, which rank among the best in the world,” H.E. explained. “Strengthening domestic tourism is essential for ensuring the tourism sector’s full recovery and driving faster economic recuperation. The UAE can benefit from its advanced infrastructure, modern facilities, and wide range of services and activities to promote itself as a tourist destination with a lot to offer visitors – be they UAE residents or travellers from abroad.”

H.E. Al Falasi proclaimed that the next stage will include further actions aiming to maintain the sector’s outstanding performance and promote chances for recovery: “The UAE Strategy for Domestic Tourism, the Unified Tourism Identity Strategy, and ‘The Most Beautiful Winter in the World’ campaign, all launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai, were key to achieving these positive results locally, at a time when the global tourism sector still reels from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and with tight restrictions on movement still in place around the world.”

“The tourism sector’s accomplishments over the past year are a result of the notable efforts made by all relevant parties to promote the sector at the federal and local levels,” H.E. added. “This is in addition to the proactive measures the UAE implemented to deal with the outbreak and minimise its impact on public health. UAE authorities actively encouraged widespread testing for infections, leading the world in the number of tests performed as a percentage of the total population. The preventive measures established a sense of reassurance and helped create a safe environment to welcome tourists.”

Going by the global statistics on tourism, China ranked first in the world in occupancy rates at hotel establishments with a rate of 58%, followed by the UAE in second place with 54.7%, and the United States in third with 37%. The top three were followed by Mexico (32%), Turkey (30%), Thailand (27%), the United Kingdom (26%), Spain (23%), Italy (16%), and Germany (12%).

Statistics also admits that the UAE suffered the least in terms of tourist traffic in 2020, where activity fell by just 45.2% – the lowest drop in the world. The UAE was followed by Mexico, where tourist traffic decreased by 52%, then Italy (63%), Germany (69%), Turkey (73%), Saudi Arabia (76%), the USA (77%), Spain (78%), the UK (82%), and Thailand (83%).