By Andy Sambidge
BMI report says sector set to rebound from 2% contraction to record growth.
The UAE is predicted to see a recovery in tourist numbers this year with arrivals picking up even further in 2011, Business Monitor International said on Thursday.
In its latest report on the country's tourism prospects, analysts said they were upbeat about the sector long-term, despite being hit last year by the effects of the global economic downturn.
It said although it maintained a "rather poor outlook for the UAE in the short term", it saw visitor numbers rebounding this year and next, without giving specific numbers.
The research company also said it had revised its forecast of negative growth in 2009 from three percent to two percent, adding that the decision was based on "attempts by individual emirates to boost domestic tourism to compensate for the downturn in foreign visitor arrivals".
"Taking on board the relatively modest growth in tourist arrivals to Dubai in H1 2009 and very disappointing data on visitors to Sharjah over the same period, BMI maintains a rather poor outlook for the UAE tourism sector in the short term," its report said.
"Recovery in growth in arrivals is anticipated in 2010 and will pick up from 2011 with stronger growth rates than our earlier forecasts," it added.
Last month, STR Global data showed that hotels in the UAE continued to struggle in November with lower occupancy rates and a 28 percent drop in revenue per available room (revPAR).
Occupancy rates in the country fell by nearly nine percent last month, compared to the same month in 2008, to 75.5 percent.
While revPAR plummeted by 28.3 percent, hotels were also hit by a year-on-year drop in average daily rate (ADR) of more than 21 percent, it said.
The figures revealed contrasting figures for Saudi Arabia which showed increases in all three categories.
Occupancy rates in Saudi Arabian hotels was up by more than three percent at nearly 63 percent in November, compared to a year earlier.
Overall, the Middle East region's hotel industry saw revPAR drop year-on-year by more than 16 percent.
Dubai and the other Emirates can increase the tourism by cooperating more. If UAE is advertised as ONE destination, with the different Emirates as different holiday experiences, the appeal will be bigger. The bottom line is that tourists want a relaxing environment which is not too expensive. UAE got too expensive and forgot about the special value it has to offer its tourists. But itâ€™s not too late. All the Emirates have some wonderful spots and attractions that are worth seeing for many people around the world. And donâ€™t forget, it has to be an ARABIC experience. That is what people fly half way across the world to see. Iâ€™ve been to UAE more then 20 times in five years and recommend it to all my friends. Good luck
Lets hope it does pick up in 2010 How many more hotels will be opened in 2010 compared to what was available in 2009 ?