With expatriates making up over 90% of the population, residents of the United Arab Emirates are frequent travellers, both for leisure and business purposes. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, many residents have become more inclined to holiday in domestic destinations as entry restrictions and fear of contracting the virus have made international travel more difficult and less appealing.
While the recent boom in staycations has helped hotels in the United Arab Emirates to weather the impact of COVID-19, it has not been sufficient to compensate for the steep drop in inbound tourism. As a result, several hotel operators have sought to maintain revenues by diversifying into extended stays, or expanding their existing offers in this area.
While some projects have been postponed or delayed, COVID-19 has not had a notably negative impact on the development of hotels in the United Arab Emirates. Several new outlets opened their doors in late 2020 and over the first six months of 2021, including a number of large luxury and upscale hotels.
Lodging still lags behind some other areas of the travel market in the United Arab Emirates when it comes to digitalisation. Nonetheless, the share of lodging current value sales generated by internet transactions has been increasing consistently for several years, largely due to the growing preference for booking via online travel intermediaries.
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This report originates from Passport, our Lodging research and analysis database.
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