The UAE recorded a 54,7 percent hotel occupancy rate in 2020 – the second highest in the world behind only China – while the global rate dropped to 37 percent under the weight of the pandemic, and hotels in the Middle East region recorded just 43 percent occupancy. This is in parallel to the significant decline in tourist activity, which fell by 74 percent around the world and 76 percent in the region.
Hospitality establishments welcomed 14,8 million guests in 2020, who spent 54,2 million nights in 1,089 different establishments that provided approximately 180,000 rooms, according to official statistics issued by the World Tourism Organisation and the Emirates Tourism Council – established by the Council of Ministers in January of this year and chaired by H.E. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, minister of state for entrepreneurship and small and medium enterprises, UAE. This brings the average stay to 3,7 nights per guest, with returns of AED3,.5 per room. Meanwhile, domestic tourism contributed AED41 billion to the national economy in 2020 – a figure that is expected to double in the upcoming few years.
“The global tourism industry bore the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic,” noted Al Falasi. “Guided by the directives of its wise leadership, the UAE was able to quickly contain the outbreak’s impact on the local tourism sector, relying on innovation and agility in its efforts to provide incentives, launch initiatives, and create opportunities to accelerate the recovery of the tourism sector and boost its contribution to GDP.”
According to global statistics on tourism, China ranked first in the world in occupancy rates at hotel establishments with a rate of 58%, followed by the UAE in second place with 54.7%, and the United States in third with 37%. The top three were followed by Mexico (32%), Turkey (30%), Thailand (27%), the United Kingdom (26%), Spain (23%), Italy (16%), and Germany (12%).
Statistics also revealed that the UAE suffered the least in terms of tourist traffic in 2020, where activity fell by just 45,2 percent - the lowest drop in the world.