COVID-19: UAE records world’s second-highest hotel occupancy rate in 2020

The UAE tourism sector was also among the least affected and the fastest to recover from the impact of Covid

Hotel Room. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Hotel Room. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Getty Images

UAE - The Ministry of Economy has revealed that the UAE in 2020 recorded the world’s second-highest hotel occupancy rate despite the impact of the Covid pandemic.

The UAE tourism sector was among the least affected and fastest to recover around the world, according to official statistics issued by the World Tourism Organisation and the Emirates Tourism Council.

According to global statistics on tourism, China ranked first in the world in occupancy rates at hotel establishments with a rate of 58 per cent, followed by the UAE in second place with 54.7 per cent, and the United States in third with 37 per cent.

Statistics also revealed that the UAE suffered the least in terms of tourist traffic in 2020, where activity fell by just 45.2 per cent – the lowest drop in the world. The UAE was followed by Mexico, where tourist traffic decreased by 52 per cent and then Italy at 63 per cent.

“Despite the tremendous challenges it brought onto the industry, the pandemic also created new opportunities for domestic tourism,” said ETC Chairman, Dr Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi.

Domestic tourism contribute Dh41 billion to the national economy last year – a figure that is expected to double in the upcoming few years.

The UAE recorded a 54.7 per cent hotel occupancy rate in 2020 – the second highest in the world behind only China – while the global rate dropped to 37 per cent under the weight of the pandemic, and hotels in the Middle East region recorded just 43 per cent occupancy. This is in parallel to the significant decline in tourist activity, which fell by 74 per cent around the world and 76 per cent in the region.

Hospitality establishments welcomed 14.8 million guests in 2020, who spent 54.2 million nights in 1,089 different establishments that provided approximately 180,000 rooms. This brings the average stay to 3.7 nights per guest, with returns of AED318.5 per room.

“The UAE can benefit from its advanced infrastructure, modern facilities, and wide range of services and activities to promote itself as a tourist destination with a lot to offer visitors – be they UAE residents or travellers from abroad,” said Al Falasi.

Al Falasi asserted that the next stage will include further initiatives aiming to maintain the sector’s outstanding performance and boost chances for recovery.

“The tourism sector’s accomplishments over the past year are a result of the notable efforts made by all relevant parties to promote the sector at the federal and local levels,” he added. “This is in addition to the proactive measures the UAE implemented to deal with the outbreak and minimise its impact on public health.”


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