Optimism in Dubai's hospitality sector abounds with the run up to Expo 2020, significant government support, and effective branding.

Mohamed Samir El Sayed

General Manager, Address Dubai Mall

The image of Dubai is accompanied by the words quality, innovation, and excellence. On the business side there are globally renowned exhibitions and Dubai has taken a major step by winning the right to host Expo 2020, which is a great achievement for a such a young city. From the millions of visitors to the Expo, 70% is expected to come from outside the UAE, which would be the largest proportion of international visitors in the Expo history. All these visitors will witness infrastructure of the highest quality and enjoy great networking opportunities and ease of doing business. In terms of our property, Address Dubai Mall, I am proud to say we have a 20-25% repeat clientele rate, somewhat significant given the competition in the city. This is exemplary of how people love the city. Transforming from a small village into a great city that is now a global hub, Dubai has a reputation for being a visionary city that does not follow but forms its own destiny through the spirit of possible and the wise foresight of its leaders.

Choe Peng Sum

CEO, Frasers Hospitality

Our properties in the Middle East see a significant amount of business from within the region, but Dubai is becoming a key destination for visitors from India and China. We are starting to see more guests from these source markets. Our growing presence in China has also resulted in increased interest from Chinese travelers who want to stay at our properties when they come to the Middle East. Aside from guests from these countries, our Middle East properties have a loyal base of customers from source markets such as the UK and US, demonstrating that our accommodation is recognized globally and meets the needs of travelers from across the globe. This has contributed to the success of our current properties in Manama, Doha, and Dubai, which are enjoying average occupancies of over 85%. In fact, our presence in the region has boosted business from GCC countries to our properties in continental Europe and the UK as well.

Tarek M. Daouk

CEO, Smartotels Hospitality International

Dubai is on track to achieve its 20-million-visitors target; significant infrastructure projects are fully deployed, leisure projects are coming online as planned, and efforts to promote Dubai globally are on-going. Dubai is currently the 4th most visited city in the world after Bangkok (20.2 million), London (20.0 million), and Paris (16.2 million); that is a remarkable achievement for a city as young as Dubai. Dubai needs to address four overarching trends. First, availability of skilled labor is vital. The recent growth in Dubai's hospitality market has exerted pressure on the quality of skilled labor servicing the industry. Second, the expansion of the MICE sector is important. Third, mobility and ease of travel are key to the success of a destination. Dubai's infrastructure has evolved significantly over the past 30 years, and the future is only looking better. Dubai is doing a wonderful job with infrastructure development and needs to keep at it—developing highways, metro lines, airport runways, and port docks. Fourth, the government requires funds to maintain security, promote the city, and develop infrastructure.

Syed Mohammed Asad Zaidi

General Manager, Ramada Chelsea Hotel - Al Barsha

The Ramada Chelsea has experienced excellent growth over the last year. Our market share has also increased despite the opening of many new hotels. We saw great growth in 2017 and expect to grow by 4-5% again in 2018. There is a significant rise in tourism in general due to certain decisions by the government and Dubai Tourism. The Dubai brand is doing extremely well, and the government has been focused on tourism, which is the backbone of Dubai. It arranges platforms for all hoteliers to come together and discuss how we can promote Dubai all over the world. Competition in the hospitality sector will grow significantly in the future. We expect many hotels to open in the run up to Expo 2020. Competition is always great; it makes you realize where you stand and what you need to do to stay relevant. Demand will change, and the strategies will have to change accordingly. It will definitely be a challenge. Dubai is growing and expanding rapidly, and there will be many new things to see and experience.