Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 04/30/2014 -- Final full-year data for the UAE's tourism industry performance in 2013 were unavailable as this report was being compiled. Consequently, we leave our key tourist arrivals forecasts unchanged this quarter, although we have now extended our forecast period out to 2018 for all key tourism industry indicators.
All indications are that 2013 will have been another positive year for UAE tourism, in line with BMI's view. Although no official data have been released by the local tourism authorities, in January 2014, the HotelierMiddleEast website stated that the UAE had seen 10.4% growth in international tourist arrivals in 2013, citing a report by the United Nations World Tourism Organization. This 10.4% figure, if confirmed upon the release of final data, would tie in well with BMI's own estimates for 10.0% growth in tourist arrivals in 2013.
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Looking forward, BMI holds a positive outlook on the UAE's tourism sector. For 2014, we forecast 8.3% growth in arrivals from all regions, with tourism receipts set to rise by around 9.4% in US dollar terms.
Looking at inbound tourism flows to the UAE by region, the Middle East looks set to remain the largest single source market, with its share of total arrivals set to remain stable around the 30% mark. Taking a greater market share over our forecast period is the Asia Pacific region, with arrivals set to rise from 2.9mn in 2014 to 4.0mn in 2018. This reflects the growing wealth of Asia, coupled with increased business travel and significant numbers of expatriate workers coming to UAE from nations such as India and Pakistan. China also is expected to prove an increasingly important source market for inbound tourism.
The hospitality sector looks set to grow in tandem with tourist arrivals. BMI believes that an extra 120 hotels and accommodation establishments will be built in UAE by 2018. This will equate to some 31,810 extra rooms for the overall national supply, reflecting the large size of many of the new hotels currently under construction across the emirates. Occupancy rates will also remain strong, remaining above 70% across our forecast period to 2018 and underlining the strong demand for accommodation in the UAE.
Overall, BMI remains highly optimistic about the UAE's tourism industry. The country is planning significant increases in the national hotel room supply, while airport capacity is also set to increase rapidly.
The UAE's hotel industry is well developed, with most leading global brands present in the local market.
- In March 2014, Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum officially opened Hilton Worldwide's latest UAE hotel, the 319-room luxury Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah. The highend property offers a range of facilities for both business and leisure travellers, with a spa set to open in April.
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