Dubai 2018 | TOURISM | COLUMN

TBY talks to Laurent A. Voivenel, Senior Vice President Operations and Development for the Middle East, India, and Africa, Swiss-Belhotel International on

Laurent A. Voivenel

What are the challenges for the tourism industry in the UAE?

According to the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, by 2020 Dubai will have roughly 165,000 keys, making Dubai the city with the highest number of available keys in the world. The city will be able to achieve this target. The challenge for Dubai is moving from the prime, high-end market to the mass market and reach the 20 million visitors per year that the government targets. Moving forward, it is expected to achieve a CAGR of 8% per year, which is double the global travel industry growth forecasted by the UN World Travel Organization. By fulfilling most of the required elements in place such as the massive expansion of airports, outstanding international connectivity, growth of visitors from emerging markets such as India and China, fabulous new attractions, and an all-year-round calendar of activities, Dubai can reach this goal. However, in terms of hotels, 60% of the developments are still in the four- and five-star segment. If Dubai wants to become a mass tourism market, we need to think about the middle segment.