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Tourism will lead the economic recovery in Dubai

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Yesterday three large cruise liners were docked at the new Port Rashid terminal that opened in January this year. Perhaps around 5,000 day trippers got off these ships to explore Dubai.

At the same time hotel occupancy in the city is sharply up on the depression of a year ago. Beachfront hotels are running close to capacity again. Only the room rates are down by an average of 14 per cent on a year ago.

Cheaper meal deals

Restaurant promotions have also brought back the local diners who had become disgusted with the high food and beverage prices of the boom years. Many local credit cards bring substantial discounts in restaurants now.

No doubt trade has also picked up in the Dubai ports and free zones this year. But the turnaround is probably not as dramatic as in the tourism sector. This time last year the Atlantis Hotel on The Palm, Jumeirah was practically empty except for security guards, now the hotel is heaving with tourists.

The opening of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, in January has certainly helped. This brought a wave of positive publicity after the negative press of the Dubai debt crisis in December.

But there is an old saying that no publicity is bad publicity, and Dubai is certainly well known these days. Indeed, it appears that as hotel rates have fallen people who could not afford Dubai before have decided to come and see what all the fuss is about.

Impressing visitors

Yesterday ArabianMoney met a couple of visitors from The Arcadia docked in Port Rashid and showed them around. They seemed dazzled and amazed by the infrastructure now available in Dubai. It is not just the best in the region but world-class.

People who live and work in Dubai probably become rather immune to the city’s charms and tend to focus on their daily problems. It is sometimes good to be reminded by visitors about the quality of what has been built here.

Perhaps after all the investment in tourism over the past decade, and the fabulous new airport facilities and Emirates Airline should also be included, it should not be surprising if tourism is the sector that leads the economic recovery in Dubai.

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Written by Peter Cooper

March 30, 2010 at 8:02 am

Posted in Culture, Hotels, Travel

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