Dubai’s the Limit
This business-minded city is still a developer’s dream.
Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, is home to larger-than-life resorts, man-made islands, the tallest building in the world and a population of more than 2 million—71 percent of whom are foreigners—that is evolving as quickly as its skyline. Dubai is also the official host of World Expo 2020. The event will span six months, with more than 200 participants that include nations, educational institutions and corporations. Each contributor will be hosting exhibitions and presenting talks designed to foster ingenuity on topics including sustainable energy, education and travel. With an expected 25 million visitors, 70 percent of whom come from outside the UAE, the expo is slated to spark even more growth in the cloud-scraping city.
In anticipation of the big event, here are three factors making Dubai a lucrative bet for resort development over the next four years:
Record-setting tourism growth
Annual figures released by Dubai Tourism show that Dubai attracted more than 14.2 million overnight visitors in 2015, recording a strong 7.5 percent increase over 2014, which is double the United Nations World Travel Organization’s projected 3 to 4 percent global travel growth for the same period. The average length of stay was 3.84 days in 2014 and is expected to grow considerably this coming year.
Focus on cultural attractions
There is something opening nearly every month in the shiny UAE city. The Dubai Opera House is scheduled to open on August 31, with the completed redevelopment of the Dubai Historical District soon to follow. Also slated to debut in August is IMG Worlds of Adventure, which at 1.5 million square feet will be the world’s largest indoor theme park. Dubai Parks is set to open in October and will be home to the city’s first outpost of LEGOLAND® and LEGOLAND® Water Park. Both of these destinations can ultimately help attract families and promote longer visitor stays. In addition to new developments, there are annual mainstays, such as the monthlong Dubai Shopping Festival, which will begin on December 26, and Taste of Dubai, coming in March 2017. The Dubai Tourism Board also cites a shift in preference toward paid accommodations for those who are visiting friends or relatives. In response, Dubai Tourism expects occupied-room nights in hotels and hotel apartments to reach 36.9 million by 2018.
Increase in North and South American business events
Dubai already hosts more than 50 percent of the business events in the Middle East and is also seeing a rise in events for North and South American business groups because of its state-of-the-art facilities, hospitality and expertise across perennial industry verticals such as education, health care, technology and transportation. This ultimately helped to attract 4.1 million overnight visitors in 2016’s first quarter alone.
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