UAE tourism drive lifts visitor numbers as hotel revenues soar

The third annual World's Coolest Winter campaign has been credited for boosting domestic tourism

The Hatta Cultural Nights event held at the Hatta Heritage Village in December. Chris Whiteoak / The National
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A UAE domestic tourism campaign has been hailed for driving up visitor numbers and hotel revenues while promoting the “rich culture of the Emirates”.

The third annual World's Coolest Winter initiative was launched by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, at Ajman's Al Zorah nature reserve on December 4.

It aimed to encourage residents and holiday-goers alike to explore all that the country has to offer, from nature spots to entertainment venues and five-star hotels.

The UAE Government Media Office said on Sunday that UAE hotels had enjoyed total revenues of Dh1.8 billion during the latest campaign, up from Dh1.5 billion in the corresponding period last year.

The number of domestic tourists rose to 1.4 million, the media office said, an increase of 8 per cent year-on-year.

Abdulla bin Touq, Minister of Economy, said the scheme was key to the UAE's efforts to boost the tourism sector's contribute to gross domestic product to Dh450bn by 2031.

“The Campaign succeeded in shedding light on our identity and heritage, and introducing the rich culture of the Emirates, taking advantage of the great success achieved in the past editions,” said Mr Bin Touq.

This year’s campaign sought to celebrate the UAE's, heritage, national identity, and authentic Emirati values.

Hotels reap benefits

The National reported this week on how a packed events schedule and bustling tourism season had led to a 30 per cent price surge and limited availability for hotel rooms across Dubai.

With many hotels at close to 100 per cent occupancy due to conferences and the Dubai Duty Free tennis championships, visitors without a booking have faced sky-high prices.

The trend is set to continue, hotel managers said.

School holidays in the UK, Europe and the UAE all fall during Ramadan this year, creating a boom in demand.

Gulfood at Dubai World Trade Centre attracted tens of thousands to the city this week, with more piling in to attend the Step Conference tech event at Internet City.

Dubai is also filling up with spillover from the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (Idex) in Abu Dhabi.

The Rove Hotel group has nine properties in Dubai, with each fully booked for consecutive days, a first for the mid-market chain.

“Occupancy levels across the city are very high at the moment,” said Paul Bridger, chief operating officer.

“It was the first time all Rove Hotels achieved 100 per cent occupancy on the same day, and we expect that to be repeated.”

Updated: February 26, 2023, 1:14 PM