2020 officially the year of the staycation as UAE targets AED80 billion with new campaign

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, launches new domestic strategy and promotional campaign

A new campaign to increase the UAE’s domestic tourism contribution to more than AED80 billion has been fired up amid a year of staycation successes.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, approved the new UAE Strategy for Domestic Tourism that aims to develop a comprehensive scheme to regulate the local tourism sector in a solid collaboration among the relevant local and federal entities.

He has revealed a new unified tourism identity, as part of the UAE Nation Brand, to establish the country’s status as an ideal tourist destination locally and globally, and to share its inspiring story with the world.

Under the strategy, Sheikh Mohammed launched the first federal domestic tourism campaign titled “World’s Coolest Winter” to invite the public to explore the hidden gems of the seven emirates. The 45-day campaign aims to highlight the major landmarks and attractions that distinguish every emirate and contribute to the UAE as a single destination.

He said: “Domestic tourism spending in the UAE stands at AED41 billion. With a solid federal collaboration, we can double the contributions of the domestic market and create new opportunities for the small business industries across the country.

“Working as one team in the tourism sector will bring long-term benefits to every part of the UAE and boost our status globally as a single destination that offers rich and diverse experiences.”

“Each of the seven emirates features rich tourist experiences, massive resources and cultural, archaeological and architectural treasures. We aim to unify our efforts to maximise returns.” He added, “We invite the private sector to take this campaign as an opportunity to strengthen partnerships with the government to bring greater value and accelerate the country’s economic recovery.

“The UAE hosts an exceptional winter and offers the best services that tourists can utilise inside and outside the country. Winter brings great moments and experiences. Like everything else in the UAE, we aim to make every winter the best in the world.”

Last month, CBRE said domestic tourism in the UAE had “exploded” as a result of the coronavirus crisis although the country still had some way to go to become a holiday haven for residents.

The global Covid-19 pandemic resulted in the closure of international borders, although Dubai, Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah have since reopened to tourists from abroad.

As a result the domestic market has taken off – Abu Dhabi achieved the highest hotel occupancy rates and the third highest revenue per room in the region in Q3.

According to Bruno Trenchard, senior manager – hotels and hospitality, at CBRE Middle East, “countless resorts” across the country were “doing really well”, boosted by the rise in domestic tourism.

According to CBRE’s UAE Domestic Tourism Trends & opportunities for the hospitality sector, just one in five hotel guests in the country were UAE nationals – pre-Covid. Trenchard said that figure has since gone up to around 90 percent of guests.

The report identified a number of areas where opportunities exist to further capitalise on the domestic tourism market, including camping or glamping, desert resorts and midscale and upscale beach resorts.

In September, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority announced its long-term investment strategy aimed to boost the growth and diversification of Jebel Jais, the UAE’s highest mountain.

The plans include a pop-up hotel concept, scheduled to open in the second half of 2021, which will introduce cliff side accommodation with mountain views, and the Jais Coaster, a summer toboggan/bobsled concept inspired by the Alps, which will open in Q2 2021.

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