Dubai’s hotel industry saw a 15-year room occupancy high in 2022 and is expected to see 25% growth by 2030, says KPMG.

Dubai was among the first cities in the world to be buzzing with tourists and high-profile exhibitions and conferences shortly after international lockdowns, according to KPMG analysts. The city, the most populous in the UAE, benefits from warm or hot weather all year round, attracting most tourists between the months of November to March including those in search of winter sun. All this has contributed towards the tourism industry’s strong performance in 2022 which contributed $29.4bn (€27.2bn) to the country’s economy last year, KPMG data shows.

The company’s 2022 hospitality report reveals that Dubai saw 15-year hotel occupancy highs as it continued to recover from the pandemic last year. The sector’s return to normal started from the end of 2021, when some hotels were reaching almost full occupancy.

“The UAE now hosts one of the richest hospitality markets in the world with an expected 25% growth in the industry by 2030 and 40 million new visitors staying at hotels in Dubai by 2031,” the company said on its website. “Dubai’s hospitality sector achieved a total of approximately 150,000 rooms by the end of 2022.”

One contributing factor to the city’s success was the 2022 Qatar World Cup. This saw almost 50% of the flights to Doha coming from Dubai, with hotel occupancy increasing as international football fans stopped by the UAE on their way to the tournament.

Dubai tourism
Dubai | Credit Fredrik Öhlander

The city’s temperate climate makes it a popular travel destination during the winter. As part of the UAE’s tourism plan to market the county as one of the world’s hottest destinations, the 45-day “World’s Coolest Winter” campaign is enabling a promising tourism season this year.

While the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) tourism industry in Dubai is also set to grow during the coming years, poised to make major contributions to the emirate’s economy. Following the success of Expo 2020, the UAE will host COP 28 in November 2023, says KPMG.

“Our 2022 Dubai hospitality report discusses the post-pandemic events and strategies that have supported industry upturn. Findings include insight from both UAE-based consumers and industry operators,” it adds.

“We look forward to continue serving the industry with our deep understanding and knowledge of the Dubai hospitality sector.”

The best time to visit Dubai is during the winter months from November to April, advises Thomas Cook. The city offers a plethora of activities and experiences from luxury shopping malls and state-of-the-art venues to adventures in the desert. There is heavy tourism traffic in January and February when the city comes alive for the Dubai Shopping Festival. This year, the festival is celebrating its 28th anniversary with discounts ranging from 25% to 75% at some outlets.

In the hotter months of June through to August, temperatures regularly reach highs of 42°C, when shimmering heat floods the city for 12 hours each day. Sandstorms are also common in and around the city while outdoor activities and festivals are limited.

However, Dubai does not close completely during the summer season, with the Dubai Summer Surprises festival bringing food, art and nature across a 10-week period. While the sun is hot, the city is well accommodated by air conditioning allowing for a comfortable stay even during these months, while the city’s nightlife also remains vibrant.

This year, the government has suspended the city’s 30% alcohol tax as part of its ongoing strategy to attract more visitors. This will be trialled for one year with experts saying that the move should further boost the city’s appeal to tourists and expatriates.

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