Dubai strategy to ease demand
A co-ordination strategy drawn up between major event organisers and the hospitality sector is expected to ease demand for hotel rooms in Dubai.
In 2006, Dubai hotel occupancy rates were the highest in the world at 86 per cent, with occupancy in the five star hotel segment reaching 92 per cent, according to figures from the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM). Dubai had an estimated 40,000 hotel rooms at the end of 2006.
Such record occupancy rates have provided a challenge for event organisers to accommodate the high volumes of trade visitors Dubai welcomes every year. The exhibition industry is registering double digit visitor growth in major events across almost every industry, with some trade fairs experiencing a 30 per cent year-on-year rise in 2007, creating demand for a significant number of hotel rooms.
A coordinated action plan - drawn up during 2006 - is now being rolled out to ensure that capacity is available during major exhibitions, with a task force involving major hotel groups and Dubai World Trade Centre’s Dubai in house hotel booking team.
“DWTC has a long history of ensuring the availability of hotel space for business travellers, dating back to the first trade shows held in Dubai, which required special provisions and the creation of new facilities,” said director general, Dubai World Trade Centre, Helal Saeed Al Marri.
“In 2006, we made the strategic decision to create a dedicated business unit that would work with hotels across the city to ensure the sufficient supply of rooms for major events,” he added.
The co-ordinated strategy is one of the most comprehensive ever launched in the region. For the forthcoming Gitex Technology Week, which runs from September 8 to 12, 2007, DWTC has reserved a record number of rooms, which will be made available to the visitors set to arrive in Dubai for the week.
Industry analysts are confident that the short-term challenge of ensuring sufficient hotel rooms will be alleviated by the construction boom in Dubai’s hospitality sector.
Dubai Exhibition World, currently under development, will provide a range of dedicated four- and five-star hotel accommodation and serviced apartments when it opens in 2010.
In addition, major developments like Bawadi, which is set to host 51 hotels offering a total of 60,000 rooms, will also ensure continued room for growth and development in the event sector. By 2016, the estimated number of hotel rooms in Dubai will top 93,867.