According to statistics from the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), Dubai’s hospitality industry experienced significant growth in 2014. The sector saw a 5.6 percent increase from the previous year, with the city’s hotels welcoming 11,629,578 guests. This data indicates a continuation of the sector’s sustained year-on-year growth and aligns with growth in key areas, such as the number of nights booked, which increased by 7.4 percent in 2014. Additionally, hotel and hotel apartment revenue rose by 9.8 percent between 2013 and 2014, increasing from AED 21.8 billion to AED 23.9 billion.
In 2014, Dubai’s top international source markets for hotel guests were Saudi Arabia, India, the United Kingdom, the United States, Iran, Oman, China, Kuwait, Russia, and Germany. This grouping includes each of Dubai’s primary source markets from 2013, but reflects minor position changes. For example, China jumped from the 10th to the seventh spot in 2014. While Dubai hotels welcomed 275,675 Chinese guests in 2013, the number increased by 24.9 percent, with 344,329 guests over the following 12 months. This influx may be attributed to the promotional efforts of Dubai’s aviation industry, hospitality sector, and DTCM, which have targeted the ever-growing number of international Chinese travelers.
Additionally, regulatory changes contributed to increases in the number of European hotel guests. In March 2014, the United Arab Emirates government expanded its pre-entry visa exemption to the entirety of the European Union (EU), thereby simplifying international travel to Dubai for residents of the 28 EU member states.