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Dubai hoteliers expect full recovery by 2023

A study has found that most hoteliers believe numbers will return to pre-Covid levels by 2023 

According to the latest report from consultants KPMG, half of hotel owners and operators in Dubai expect occupancy levels to rise above 60% this year, and three-quarters expect numbers to return to pre-Covid levels by 2023.

Despite ongoing outbound travel restrictions among many of the UAE’s main source markets, including India, the UK and South Africa, KPMG’s ‘Suite success: Dubai hospitality survey 2021’ predicts continued recovery for the emirate’s hospitality sector.

The findings showed that 75% of owners and operators surveyed said they believed the vaccine will play a significant part in boosting occupancy rates – the UAE currently has one of the most efficient vaccination programmes in the world, with almost 13 million doses administered across the country to date.

KPMG Lower Gulf partner, head of real estate Sidharth Mehta said: “Though short- to medium-term challenges remain, Dubai’s successful management of the pandemic and the efforts put in by individual players have helped recovery.”

In spite of the economic crisis caused by the global coronavirus pandemic, the UAE recorded the second-highest occupancy rates globally (54%), behind China, in 2020. Dubai’s occupancy rates steadily improved since April 2020, touching a 12-month high of 69% last December, although dipping to 60% this April.

While international arrivals plummeted, the number of room nights sold to domestic tourists increased by 107%, surging from 2.74 million in 2019 to 5.68 million in 2020.

Mehta said: “Dubai’s popularity as a staycation destination has been key in supporting the emirate’s hospitality sector. New developments, such as Ain Dubai and the Museum of the Future, successful mass immunisation, and safety protocols followed by properties will increase Dubai’s appeal as a safe destination.”

The Dubai Assured stamp, launched in June 2020 with the goal of assuring visitors that hotels, restaurants, retail outlets and attractions are in line with international health and safety standards and protocols, also served to build guest confidence. More than three-quarters (77%) of those planning to stay in a Dubai hotel said they would consider whether a property received the Dubai Assured stamp, certifying its sanitisation protocols.

Nearly 70% of owners and operators expect the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) segment to be at significant risk. However, as many as nine in 10 (92%) travellers to Dubai saw the emirate as the safest place in the world to conduct business meetings during the pandemic.

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