Dubai well on its way to 15m tourist target


Dubai is well on its way to achieve its new 15 million-tourist target about five, if not seven, years ahead of schedule, said a senior official.

“In the early ’90s, Dubai attracted some 30,000 tourists - this year we will achieve 5 million tourists,” Sultan Bin Sulayem, chairman of Palm Island developers Nakheel, said. “Our new target was to reach 15 million tourists by 2015 but at the pace we are going, we will achieve that by 2010, if not 2008.
He was addressing the Cityscape conference, which this year has attracted over 400 delegates.
Cityscape, the International Commercial Architecture, Property Investment & Development Event, organised by IIR Exhibitions and Conferences opened at the Grand Hyatt in Dubai today.
Bin Sulayem said the sheer demand for beach hotel rooms in Dubai had sparked the building of the Palm islands.
“However, studies show that with this target, Dubai will need 25,000 hotel rooms on the beach - today it has 4,000 hotels rooms on the shore. Hence projects such as the Palm. When complete, the Palm Islands will add another 15,000 beachside hotel rooms.”
Bin Sulayem said Dubai was not overbuilding, it was merely responding to demand.
“We also are witnessing demand for timeshare in Dubai but I believe we need some legal structure to operate this. We do not want to just let anyone in to build and operate timeshare - we have to ensure Dubai’s credibility is safeguarded,” he said.
Bin Sulayem also said Dubai would increasingly see the emergence of small satellite communities, such as The Gardens in Jebel Ali, where reasonably-priced housing would be provided closer to where people work.
“This is just one way in which we will tackle traffic congestion,” he said.
Bin Sulayem said The Gardens, at Jebel Ali, had been hugely successful with all the leaseable property - 4,000 units - now rented out.
“We will need these satellites to accommodate those who will work in the new developments - those who will work on the Palm Islands, for instance,” he said.
Passenger traffic at Dubai airport jumped 11.8 per cent in the first nine months of 2003 to 13.2 million, up from 11.8 million in the same period of last year.