(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) DUBAI - As the hotel industry is rapidly expanding in Dubai, the emirate's hotels and hotel apartments played hosts to 5,027,223 guests in the first half of this year, an increase of 10 per cent over the corresponding period in 2011.
Khalid bin Sulayem, director general, Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing in Dubai (DTCM), made the announcement at the annual Natalie Tours Congress, the eighth in a row, which kicked off on Monday.
The five-day conference, being run by Natalie Tours, the biggest tourist company in the Russian market, in collaboration with the Alpha Tours, is to see the participation of 250 tourist companies from across Russia.
In his inaugural speech, Sulayem, said the event is a good chance to update guests' information about Dubai tourist attractions and mega projects, and best promote the emirate in the Russian market.
"Guestnights of Dubai hotel facilities amounted to 19,209,370 nights in H1 this year, an increase of 18 per cent against H1 2011," he said. "Likewise, revenues of both Dubai hotels and hotel apartments in the first six months of the year amounted to Dh9,797,283,000, a rise of 22 per cent in comparison to the same period in 2011," he added.
Hailing bilateral tourism relationships between Dubai and Russia, Bin Sulayem said Russia is one the most important tourist markets to Dubai.
"DTCM has always been very keen on participating in all tourist fairs and exhibitions in Russia, most recently the Moscow Autumn Travel Industry Week or 'Leisure 2012', in which we won three awards."
Echoing the same, Ghassan Al Aridi, CEO " Alpha Tours, said Russia is one of the most important five markets to Dubai in terms inbound tourists and sales, Al Aridi said the Russian tourist is atop the list of the most spending tourists worldwide.
"Alpha Tours has managed to attract around 120,000 Russian tourists in the first nine months of 2012 as compared to over 75,000 in 2011."
Natasha Vorobieva, CEO and GM, Natalie Tours, said: "We are expecting sales up to 1billion this year, attracts some 150,000 Russian tourists to the UAE on an annual basis - 65 per cent to Dubai and 35 per cent to the other six emirates."