Dubai continues to lead a global recovery in tourism and business events, the emirate's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) said.
During quarterly online meetings of its business events and exhibitions committees, Dubai Tourism provided industry stakeholders with updates on the pace of recovery in the business events sector since it resumed in September last year.
“Dubai has been able to lead the way globally not only in wider tourism recovery, but specifically in the restart of business events,” Helal Saeed Almarri, director general of Dubai Tourism, said.
“Thanks to the efforts of our stakeholders across the sector, the momentum we built at the end of 2020 has gathered pace this year, with strong optimism for the coming months to further leverage our status as one of the few cities globally to be safely hosting business events of all sizes.”
The UAE's hospitality and tourism industry’s recovery is expected to accelerate in 2021 driven by its Covid-19 vaccine push, the easing of travel restrictions in some markets, Expo 2020 Dubai in October, open borders and visa reforms.
Dubai hosted more than 810,000 international guests in the first two months of 2021 compared with 3.27 million visitors in January and February of 2020, before movement restrictions were put in place to stem the spread of the pandemic. The closure of borders in many markets meant the emirate had 5.51 million visitors last year, or a third of the number of visitors in 2019.
Despite this, hotels in the UAE were the world's second busiest after China in 2020, according to the Ministry of Economy.
Dubai, the region's finance, trade and tourism hub, is a global centre for hosting meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions. The events industry globally has suffered due to travel restrictions, however, the emirate is safely reopening to host major international events.
“As the countdown towards Expo 2020 Dubai continues, business events are playing a vital role in attracting more visitors and showcasing this as a safe city for international gatherings, and also in recapturing economic growth across all economic sectors,” Mr Almarri said.
The online meetings are part of a series of events Dubai Tourism has hosted throughout the Covid-19 pandemic to keep stakeholders updated on the recovery and obtain their views on various issues.
Meeting participants were provided with updates on the events hosted in recent months, including Gulfood and Gitex, as well as some of the ongoing marketing efforts to raise awareness of Dubai as a host city for business events, the statement added.
Over the coming months, Dubai will host major events, including Arabian Travel Market, Arab Health, the International Astronautical Congress and the Society of Petroleum Engineers' Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, among others.