China and Russia rising for the UAE, reveals ATM study

Destinations of the World, based in Dubai (pictured), will give WebBeds 5,600 unique direct hotel contracts

The UAE is predicted to witness particularly strong growth from China and Russia following Expo 2020 and its legacy, District 2020, according to research from Colliers International, in partnership with the Arabian Travel Market (ATM).

Expo 2020 and District 2020 are expected to have a long-term influence on the growth of inbound arrivals to the UAE from the country’s top five source markets between 2018 and 2023, the study projects.

Looking at the country’s top three source markets, the number of Indian visitors travelling to the UAE will increase at a CAGR of seven per cent to three million in 2023, while arrivals from Saudi Arabia and the UK will witness an increase of two per cent and one per cent to 1.8 million and 1.3 million respectively over the same period.

Expo 2020 taking place in Dubai expected to sustain arrivals growth

While the UAE’s top source market rankings are expected to remain mostly unchanged post-Expo 2020, the research reveals the Russian and Chinese source markets will show above average annual growth rates for inbound passenger arrivals.

Danielle Curtis, exhibition director ME, ATM, said: “The number of Russian tourists travelling to the UAE will increase at a CAGR of 12 per cent to 1.6 million in 2023, while the number of Chinese tourists visiting the UAE will increase at a CAGR of eight per cent to 1.27 million over the same period, according to the data.”

Looking to acquire their share of these high-growth markets at ATM 2019 will be the tourism boards from the UAE’s seven emirates with major exhibits from Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah, Ajman and Fujairah as well as over 93 other UAE exhibitors such as Emirates, Emaar Hospitality Group and Dubai Airports Corporation.

Curtis said: “Taking a look at the other key drivers, besides Expo 2020, Russian visitors to the UAE have grown in recent years, due to the introduction of additional and direct airline routes. Russian visitors also now benefit from relaxed UAE visa regulations and rising oil prices are helping to strengthen the Russian rouble, making the UAE more affordable.

“Regarding Chinese visitors, according to some analysts China’s middle-class will swell to 338 million households by 2020, a 13 per cent increase in just five years. Moreover, by 2030 35 per cent of China’s 1.4 billion population will have US$10,000 of annual disposable income, up 10 per cent from 2018. Therefore, the growth potential for both markets is significant.”

With 20 million annual visitors expected to visit Dubai by 2020, plus an additional five million between October 2020 and April 2021 – 70 per cent of which will come from outside the UAE – the overall hospitality supply in the emirate is expected to increase by 39 per cent from 59,561 keys in 2017 to 82,994 in 2021 to meet this demand.

Meanwhile in neighbouring emirate Abu Dhabi, the number of rooms across three-, four- and five-star properties is forecast to grow 13 per cent from 21,782 in 2017 to 24,565 in 2021.

“Just as Dubai and Abu Dhabi have their own unique set of visitor attractions, we are now seeing the northern emirates carving stronger identities, supported by their respective tourism authorities. And, while Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah and Fujairah are smaller than Dubai and Abu Dhabi in terms of supply, they are evolving quickly,” Curtis said.

Ras Al Khaimah is working on an unprecedented pipeline, which will more than double the number of hotel rooms, from 4,019 in 2017 to 9,078 in 2021, the largest proportionate pipeline in the GCC.

The number of hotel rooms in Sharjah is also expected to more than double between 2017 and 2021, taking the total number of hotel rooms in the emirate to 5,295 by 2021. Meanwhile, Fujairah will add almost 500 keys over the same period taking its total stock to 2,543 rooms.

Taking place from April 28 to May 1, ATM 2019 will feature cutting-edge technology and innovation as its main theme, which will be integrated across all show verticals and activities, including focused seminar sessions, featuring dedicated exhibitor participation.

ATM welcomed over 39,000 people to its 2018 event, showcasing the largest exhibition in the history of the show, with hotels comprising 20 per cent of the floor area.

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