Dubai’s successful bid to host Expo 2020, announced last night in Paris, will attract more than 25 million visitors to Dubai between October 2020 and April 2021, said HE Helal Almarri, director general, Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM).
To meet the needs of this tourist boom — 70% of which will come from outside of the UAE — DTCM expects to have to double Dubai’s hotel inventory to around 164,000 hotel and hotel apartment rooms within the next seven years.
This will be in line with the tourism board’s previously announced Tourism Vision 2020, which aims to attract 20 million visitors to Dubai by 2020 — a figure that stood as a target regardless of the Expo bid outcome.
Almarri told Hotelier Middle East: “Dubai’s Expo bid is part of long-term vision that ensures sustainable national development and a prosperous future for the UAE. In May of this year, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed approved our Tourism Vision for 2020, a strategy which sets a clear path towards developing our tourism industry and furthering its contribution to Dubai’s economy. Although this Vision is separate to the Expo bid, we can now leverage the hosting of Expo 2020 and the focus it will place on Dubai as a means to attract visitors to Dubai.
“The impact on the tourism industry will be substantial – between October 2020 and April 2021, Expo will attract more than 25 million visitors, 70% of which will be from outside the UAE – the largest number of international visitors in Expo history,” continued Almarri. “A number of sectors will benefit, including construction, engineering and transportation, and of course the hospitality, retail and aviation sectors will experience a significant positive impact.
“DTCM will now work with its tourism partners in both government and the private sector to put in place the infrastructure and processes needed to meet the demand of the 25 million visitors we expect at Expo 2020.”
With regards to hotels, he added: “We currently have in the region of 82,000 hotel and hotel apartment rooms in Dubai and estimate that by 2020 we will need to roughly double that in line with the Tourism Vision for 2020 which includes the target figure of welcoming 20 million visitors per year to Dubai by 2020 – this will be more than enough rooms to cope with the demands of Expo.”