(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Dubai's hotels welcomed more than 5.8 million tourists in the first half of 2014, the highest number of visitors ever achieved in the first six months of the year.
The statistics, released by Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, or DTCM, show increases across key indicators including hotel establishment guests, hotel and hotel apartment room revenues, F&B revenue and average length of stay.
Helal Saeed Almarri, director-general of the DTCM, said: "Our strategy continues to be positioning Dubai as the must-experience family destination and as such we are constantly diversifying our tourism offering and increasing our hotel portfolio to attract, and cater to, a broader market of visitors. The figures for the first half of 2014 are encouraging and we continue to build on this growth to ensure a successful second half of the year."
He added: "The figures show an increase in visitors from many of our key source markets - for example we are seeing strong growth from China, Brazil, Australia and many countries in Europe. The increase comes despite the reduction in flights due to the refurbishment and upgrading of the runways at Dubai International, which is testament to the work conducted by Dubai Airports and our industry partners in ensuring minimal disruption."
In the first half of 2014, guest numbers across all hotel establishments (hotels and hotel apartments) reached 5,828,449, an increase on figures for the same period in 2013.
Dubai's top 10 tourism source markets remained for the most part unchanged compared to the previous year. The top 10 markets showed some slight changes in positioning and continue to show the diversity of visitors travelling to Dubai. Saudi Arabia, India, the UK, the US, Russia, China, Iran, Oman, Kuwait and Germany made up the top 10 for January to June 2014.
Saudi Arabia continued to be Dubai's primary source market and guests from the world's two most-populous nations, China (ranked sixth) and India (ranked second), continued to show growth. China in particular saw a substantial increase of 26 per cent, attributable both to the increasing propensity of Chinese residents to travel overseas and the targeted campaigns of DTCM and its partners within Dubai's tourism industry to leverage this to the emirate's advantage.
Hotels and hotel apartments saw steady growth in guest nights during the first half of the year with figures up by 6.7 per cent for hotels and 4.1 per cent for hotel apartments. Increasing the length of stay has been identified as a key driver of tourism growth across Dubai within the Tourism Vision for 2020, and average length of stay increased across the board, with an average of 3.9 days; length of stay in hotels increased to 3.4 days and hotel apartments to 5.7 days.
Revenues for hoteliers and hotel apartment operators saw significant growth, with total first half revenues reaching Dh12.74billion (3.18 billion) up by 10.9 per cent. Hotels and hotel apartments reported increases in room revenue (15.3 per cent) as well as F&B and other revenue, which rose by 3.8 per cent.
Almarri added: "The figures we're seeing show steady growth for the first half of the year, demonstrating that we're on target for our medium-term plans. More importantly, this growth is sustainable and we are moving in the right direction to reach our Tourism Vision for 2020 targets. In addition to the increase in hotel guest numbers, since the end of June 2013, Dubai has added more than 7,000 hotel rooms to its inventory, with the total now standing at 88,680 across 634 establishments. Dubai's hotel offering is continuing to grow and diversify allowing us to both meet the demand from travellers as well as broaden the market we promote Dubai to."