By Elsa Baxter
Global recession forces international tourists to stay at home, latest data reveals.
The number of tourists to Dubai fell 5.7 percent in the third quarter of 2009, compared to the same period the previous year, the latest figures show.
Data from Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), cited by the National, revealed the global recession was the reason for the decline.
“In terms of the drop-off in visitor numbers to Dubai they’re actually quite healthy if you look at the rest of the world. It’s not necessarily a reflection on Dubai as a destination,” Sean Tipton, a senior spokesman for the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), told the paper.
The figures, published by the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), showed the number of international visitors to the emirate fell by 1.3 percent in the first nine months of the year, compared to 2008.
However the research showed the number of hotel guest numbers actually increased by 3.2 percent during the first three quarters as UAE residents took advantage of reduced room rates, the paper reports.
The number of hotel rooms in Dubai also grew 19 percent over the same period from 49,875 to 59,372, the DTCM said.
Tourism accounted for 19 percent of Dubai’s gross domestic product in 2008.