Department of Economy and Tourism hosts first ‘City Briefing’ of 2023

Department of Economy and Tourism hosts first ‘City Briefing’ of 2023

His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Second Deputy Ruler of Dubai, today attended the Department of Economy and Tourism’s (DET) first ‘City Briefing’ of 2023.

Organised for key stakeholders and partners, the industry gathering provided participants the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the Dubai Economic Agenda, D33 that was launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to further consolidate Dubai’s status as one of the top three global cities. The event, held at the Dubai World Trade Centre, highlighted the crucial role assigned to the city’s tourism sector in ensuring the success of the 10-year Agenda.

In addition to the focus on the D33 Agenda, the latest data and industry outlook for 2023 and beyond were also shared by DET at the ‘City Briefing’ which was presided over by His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of DET. The briefing was attended by over 1,200 top executives from across the tourism ecosystem including aviation, travel, hospitality and retail sectors. The gathering has enabled stakeholders and partners to be aligned with both domestic and global marketing initiatives and activities rolled out by DET, while exploring ways to continue accelerating the momentum to further reinforce the city’s position as an international hub for business, investment, talent and tourism.

Helal Saeed Almarri expressed that the Dubai Economic Agenda, known as D33, is a courageous and ambitious plan crafted under the visionary guidance of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. It aims to establish a lasting legacy that future generations will celebrate, fostering a climate of innovation, sustainability, and inclusivity to position Dubai proudly among the world's top three premier destinations. With a positive outlook for 2023 and beyond, Dubai remains committed to delivering exceptional experiences to visitors worldwide, while expressing gratitude to its partners for their unwavering support and invaluable contributions to the city's success. Their commitment and shared belief in Dubai's potential have propelled it forward, transforming unprecedented challenges into growth opportunities and solidifying its trajectory as the most visited international destination and the best city to live, work, and invest in.

Dubai's tourism sector experienced significant growth with an 18% year-on-year increase in international visitation, welcoming 6.02 million visitors from January to April 2023 compared to 5.10 million in the same period of 2022. The hotel sector showed resilience, achieving an average occupancy rate of 80%, surpassing the previous year's 76% level and coming close to the pre-pandemic occupancy of 83% in 2019. Dubai ranked first in occupancy globally, outperforming cities like London, New York, Los Angeles, and Paris. Additionally, the city topped the list in Gross Operating Profit per Available Room (GOPAR), demonstrating its strong performance. The hotel supply also witnessed growth, reaching 148,949 rooms in 814 establishments, a 26% increase compared to pre-pandemic levels in April 2019. The average length of stay by guests also rose by 13% to four nights, reflecting Dubai's appeal as a destination for longer stays.

Issam Kazim, the CEO of the Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM), presented an industry overview, emphasizing the significance of collaboration with stakeholders to maintain Dubai's status as a preferred global destination. He highlighted successful global campaigns that showcased Dubai's diverse offerings, contributing to the city's position as a must-visit place. Dubai's marketing efforts led to 57% of the total visitation of 14.4 million international visitors in 2022, influencing millions of prospective travelers for the future. Dubai received international recognition, ranking first in the Tripadvisor Travellers' Choice Awards, securing second place on Conde Nast Traveller's 'Where to Travel Next 2023 Hot List,' and ranking third among prominent global cities. The city's gastronomy sector was acknowledged in the MENA's 50 Best restaurants and the MICHELIN Guide Dubai.

Kazim also highlighted the 'Kids Go Free' campaign, aiming to attract families and global travelers for summer vacations by offering attractive discounts and free experiences for kids. The presentation showcased DET's comprehensive marketing approach, utilizing traditional, social, and digital media platforms, as well as celebrity endorsements, influencers, and gamification. DET conducted extensive in-market activities and established partnerships with travel trade and airlines, both domestically and internationally, to promote leisure tourism. Dubai achieved great success at the Arabian Travel Market, hosting the largest ATM Hosted Buyers Programme, with the participation of 450 buyers from various markets and countries.

Ahmed Al Khaja, the CEO of the Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment
(DFRE), highlighted the use of festivals and events to drive visitation and solidify Dubai's position as a global destination for leisure, business events, and the MICE industry. He presented a range of diverse festivals and events in Dubai, such as the Dubai Shopping Festival, Dubai Food Festival, Dubai Summer Surprises, Eid in Dubai-Eid Al Adha celebrations, and the Dubai Esports and Games festival. He also emphasized the retail offers and promotions available for residents and visitors during the summer season in Dubai.

Stakeholders pledge support

Stakeholders and partners have pledged their support for the D33 Agenda and the continued success of the industry, and remain committed to working with DET to make the city a top destination for business, investment and tourism.

Alexander Lee, the Chief Commercial Officer of Jumeirah Group
, stated that Dubai has emerged as one of the top five most visited cities globally and is experiencing rapid growth in its luxury market. As a luxury hotel operator and owner of high-end residences, Jumeirah Group is witnessing increasing demand for its products and services from both traditional and new international markets. With Dubai's ambitious tourism targets and plans to double the size of its economy in the next decade, the city is creating a competitive landscape in the luxury hospitality sector, making it an appealing opportunity for brands like Jumeirah Group to expand and thrive.

Timothy Kelly, the Executive Vice President and Managing Director of Atlantis The Palm and Atlantis The Royal Resort & Residences, expressed immense success in the opening of Atlantis The Royal, with strong occupancy, high demand for celebrity chef branded restaurants, and international visitors from over 200 countries. They prioritize culinary innovation and providing exceptional gastronomy experiences, as they contribute to Dubai's ambitious goal of becoming one of the top three global destinations for tourism and business outlined in the D33 Agenda.

Aligi Gardenghi, the Vice President of Operations for the Arabian Peninsula at Hilton, highlighted the positive momentum in Dubai's tourism sector, with over six million visitors in the first four months of 2023. He emphasized Hilton's commitment to supporting Dubai's growth, especially through initiatives like the Dubai Economic Agenda, D33, and sustainability efforts such as Dubai Can and ESG focus.

Similarly, Sandeep Walia, the Chief Operating Officer for the Middle East at Marriott International, expressed confidence in Dubai's travel sector, noting the strong demand for travel and the city's appeal to various types of travelers. Marriott International's portfolio in Dubai aligns with the diverse experiences the city offers, and they have observed encouraging performance across leisure, business transient, and MICE sectors.

"The market's strong performance reinforces Dubai's global status as a hub for business and leisure, aligning with the D33 Agenda, and Marriott International remains dedicated to collaborating with local authorities and organizations to ensure ongoing growth and success in the tourism sector, vital to Dubai's economy."

he added.

Duncan O'Rourke, CEO Premium, Midscale & Economy Division - Middle East, Africa & Asia Pacific at Accor,
highlighted the positive performance of their 56 hotels in Dubai, with a notable increase in occupancy levels and strong demand from key markets. He expressed confidence in the D33 Agenda's ability to stimulate corporate travel demand, emphasizing the need for long-stay options and state-of-the-art facilities for meetings and events.

Fathi Khogaly, General Manager of Grand Hyatt Dubai, emphasized the hotel's expansion, including the state-of-the-art Exhibition Center, which played a significant role in surpassing previous performance. Hyatt Hotels Dubai experienced a remarkable start to the year, supporting Dubai's vision and sustainability goals through innovative experiences and the transition to a paperless environment.

News Source: Dubai Media Office

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