$ 82 bn: Dubai to treble tourism income by 2020

Updated 06 May 2013
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$ 82 bn: Dubai to treble tourism income by 2020

DUBAI: Dubai aims to treble its annual income from tourism to AED 300 billion ($82 billion) by 2020, which would involve doubling the number of its hotel rooms, a senior official said.
Tourism is crucial to Dubai’s economy, which had a gross domestic product of around $90 billion last year; it supports the emirate’s large retail industry as well as its hospitality sector.
Occupancy at Dubai’s 599 hotels, which have 80,500 rooms combined, was 78 percent in 2012 as the number of visitors rose 9.3 percent from a year ago to 10.16 million, according to data from the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM).
Helal Saeed Almarri, director-general of the DTCM, said the emirate was likely to have more than 160,000 hotel rooms by the end of the decade and aimed to attract 20 million tourists annually by then.
Most decisions to build hotels would not be made by the Dubai government but by private companies. However, the Dubai government is active in supporting growth of the industry by providing infrastructure, marketing the emirate overseas, adjusting visa policies for visitors and expanding the network of the state-owned Emirates airline.
Saudi Arabia, India and Russia will be the main contributors to expected growth in tourist numbers, Almarri said.
“With Emirates airline and other carriers we focus very much on extending the routes to those markets,” he said.
Dubai’s main airport handled 5.85 million passengers in March, up 20.6 percent from a year earlier, according to airport authorities.
“Airport capacity is not on our critical list of issues to worry about,” said Almarri.
“We can easily put on more flights at any time.”
Dubai is pressing ahead with a $ 7.8 billion plan to expand Dubai International Airport, and plans eventually to migrate traffic to an even bigger facility.”
Traditionally, Dubai has been known for five-star hotels, but more budget hotels have been built in the last few years, appealing to a wider tourist base. Almarri acknowledged this was an important trend.
“The importance in our growth is to have a mix of hotels,” he said. “Over the last five years the hotel offering in Dubai has become more diversified.”
At present, hotel guests stay for an average of 3.76 nights; hotel revenue was $ 5.13 billion in 2012.
Almarri said that to help increase the average length of stay, Dubai would build more entertainment facilities. Plans for several theme parks have been announced in the last few months by companies backed by the government.
“I have every confidence that we will have over the next three to four years coming on line a significant number of tourist attractions which are purely entertainment-like theme parks,” said Almarri.
Having been forced to provision heavily for bad loans following the collapse of Dubai’s real estate market in 2008-2011, banks have become more prudent about financing large-scale projects. Almarri said the theme parks would be funded largely through public-private partnerships.
“Theme parks are procured rather than built in many cases, so come with their own financing packages — the rides are built elsewhere, so you will probably find that many governments around the world are encouraging exports,” he said.


Davos 2019: Mideast CEOs turn gloomy on global economy, PwC study finds

Political and business leaders are gathering in the mountain resort of Davos in Switzerland this week. (AP)
Updated 54 min 23 sec ago
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Davos 2019: Mideast CEOs turn gloomy on global economy, PwC study finds

  • The loss of confidence from regional CEOs was the second biggest fall in the world, beaten only by North American bosses, whose optimism fell from 63 percent to 37 percent

DAVOS: Chief executives in the Middle East are much less confident on prospects for the global economy than they were in 2018, according to a report from accounting and consulting group PwC.

The firm’s annual survey of top bosses’ attitudes, traditionally launched on the eve of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, showed a big drop in the number of CEOs from the region who believe global economic growth will improve in the next 12 months.

Only 28 percent of Middle East business leaders now see an improvement in economic prospects, compared with 52 percent this time last year. Bob Moritz, global chairman of PwC, said: “The prevailing sentiment this year is one of caution in the face of increasing uncertainty.”

The loss of confidence from regional CEOs was the second biggest fall in the world, beaten only by North American bosses, whose optimism fell from 63 percent to 37 percent.

PwC said that the Middle East decline was due to “increased regional economic uncertainty,” while the North American fall was “likely due to the fading of fiscal stimulus and emerging trade tensions.”

The results of the PwC poll - conducted among 1,300 business leaders around the world - reflected an overall decline in business confidence in each region surveyed. Last year, only 5 percent of CEOs said that global economic growth would decline. For 2019, this has jumped to nearly 30 percent.

Globally, confidence in CEOs’ own companies to grow revenue this year has also fallen sharply. Moritz said: “With the rise in trade tension and protectionism it stands to reason that confidence is waning.”

The US retains its lead as the top market for growth among international investors, but many CEOs are turning to other markets, or investing at home. The ongoing trade conflict between the US and China has resulted in a sharp decline in the number of Chinese bosses chosing the US as a market for growth, down from 59 percent last year to only 17 percent for 2019.

Globally, CEOs are still more worried about the threat of over-regulation of their businesses - named as the top concern again in 2019 - but uncertainty about policy has become a major issue too.

In the Middle East, the main concern is geopolitical uncertainty, followed by the threat of cyberattack, policy uncertainty and the speed of technological change.