Outstanding winter forecast for UAE tourism as FIFA World Cup boosts trade


Sports tourists heading to the UAE this winter are expected to boost the local multimillion-dirham hospitality and event economy, analysts have said.

The United Arab Emirates tops the list of favorite destinations for those traveling to the region to watch some of the world’s biggest sporting events, such as the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, the Abu Dhabi and the finals of the European Tour golf Race to Dubai.

A recent report by online travel agency Musafir revealed that travelers have opted for the United Arab Emirates because of its proximity to major sporting events as well as family-friendly activities, personal safety, security, availability of rooms, shopping, adventure sports and seamless connectivity.

We have received several inquiries regarding transporting a yacht from Dubai to Qatar, but unfortunately this is not possible due to certain regulations.

Ahlam Mohammed, Book Yachts, Dubai

Meanwhile, hotel businesses in Dubai have reported “significantly” higher demand for hotel rooms, events, brunches and yacht rentals resulting from high-profile sporting events in the last quarter of the year.

The FIFA World Cup in Qatar is the main draw, with a deluge of arrivals looming from South America ― a relatively new tourist market for the Emirates.

“It’s the usual peak leisure season for international source markets, but we are certainly seeing an increase in demand this year in arrivals from particular destinations, including Argentina and Brazil,” said Mohanad Malhas, Managing Director Arabian Adventures, which organizes desert safaris. , overnight camping and buggy rental.

“We are seeing strong demand for our services during the winter months of 2022.

“This applies to our entire range of services, from planning, hotel stays, transfers, arrivals and organization of resort excursions, event and cruise management. , as well as our award-winning desert safari and city tour products.

“For groups and individual travellers, clients are choosing Dubai as their hub during the months of highly anticipated mega events taking place in the region this winter.”

Sports tourism destination

According to the World Trade Organization, the Middle East is emerging as the fastest growing sports tourism destination in the world, valued at around $600 billion (Dh2.2 trillion).

Aloki Batra, managing director of Five Hospitality – operator of Five Hotels at The Palm Jumeirah and Jumeirah Village Circle – said Dubai was likely to peak in popularity this winter.

“We have already seen an increase in advance bookings from celebrities, locals and visitors with a 25% increase over last year,” he said.

“This comes mainly from our key markets such as the UK, Scandinavia, Germany and France.”

Hotel providers will not be the only ones to benefit from the boom, with ancillary tourist services also reporting a significant increase in demand.

One such industry is that of pleasure yachts.

Ahlam Mohammed, director of sales and marketing at Book Yachts in Dubai, said bookings had increased significantly in recent years, with many people requesting sailing yachts direct to Qatar for the World Cup.

“October is usually busy, but we’re seeing a lot more bookings than usual,” he said.

“We have a lot of guests from India and America, but there are a lot more from Europe.

“People want birthday parties, going out or just having family holidays while they’re here for the World Cup.

“We have had several inquiries about transporting a yacht from Dubai to Qatar, but unfortunately this is not possible due to some regulations, and it would take 12-18 hours.

“Most of the people we talk to are traveling to Qatar by road from Dubai.”

Flights to the United Arab Emirates are expected to jump up to 20% compared to the same period last year, according to the Musafir report.

In addition to attending sporting events, fans will want to explore thrill-seeking activities to complement a comprehensive travel experience that encapsulates all the country has to offer.

The Musafir report indicates that the average expenditure by travelers in Dubai would be around $5,000 (18,300 Dh) for a hotel stay, transport, shopping and to explore the city.

The report’s findings showed that hotels in the UAE will experience an increase in accommodation demand and price inflation of up to 40%, with occupancy rates likely to reach 100% during the tournament.

The data also showed an 80% growth in advance bookings for travel between Dubai and Doha.

This was encouraged by the joint multiple-entry tourist visa for the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Oman for Hayya Fan ID holders.

“Sporting events act as a catalyst and can have a huge impact on the economy as we will see millions of fans coming together to not only watch their favorite sport, but to have an unforgettable experience while in the region” Sachin Gadoya said. , managing director and co-founder of Musafir Business.

“We expect exponential growth in the tourism sector as arrivals and occupancy will be even higher than before the pandemic, which is a much needed boost for the travel and hospitality sector.”

Updated: October 09, 2022, 08:32


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