GCC visitors contributed to over 30% of the hotel occupancy levels in the Northern Emirates in 2017, according to data released ahead of Arabian Travel Market (ATM).
Visitors from the GCC are driving demand in the UAE’s Northern Emirates, comprising more than 30% of hotel check-ins, which saw a positive uptick in Year-on-Year (YoY) occupancy.
Simon Press, Senior Exhibition Director, ATM, said: “The Northern Emirates are becoming increasingly popular, especially with GCC visitors, as Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah and Sharjah all recorded significant growth from the regional market in 2017.
“There are many reasons. Improved transport infrastructure has certainly boosted staycations particularly from Dubai, Abu Dhabi and visitors from Oman, as well as new luxury properties and a host of new attractions has boosted arrival numbers. With the launch of a shuttle bus service between Dubai International Airport and Ras Al Khaimah, visitors can be transported to the northern emirate within 45 minutes.”
The data shows that of the overall increase in occupancy, in Fujairah, GCC residents now make up 39% of the emirate’s total occupancy levels, 34% in Ras Al Khaimah and 34% in Sharjah, a trend that ATM expects to continue.
Reflecting this growth, during ATM 2017 the number of delegates, exhibitors and attendees interested in doing business with the UAE increased 54% compared to the 2016 edition of the show. While, the number of UAE visitors to the show has increased 38% over the last five years.
Looking ahead to ATM 2018, more than 60 UAE exhibitors will participate in the show, including three new exhibitors: Desert Gate Tourism, A.A.Al Moosa Enterprises, and Carlton Hotels & Suites.
Press continued: “Just as Dubai and Abu Dhabi have their own unique set of visitor attractions, we now see the northern emirates carving a stronger identity, supported by their respective tourism authorities, and this has underlined the growth in visitor numbers and the resulting performance of key metrics that we have seen.”
In 2017, high visitor numbers increased overall average occupancy for the year with the UAE’s national average occupancy reaching over 75% by the end of 2017.