Dubai hotels gear up for a bumper season ahead of Expo 2020

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Less than one month before the doors to Expo 2020 Dubai open to the world, hotels near the landmark site are gearing for a bumper tourism season.

With a predicted 25 million tourists expected to come to the emirate over the six-month event, according to Expo organizers, Dubai hoteliers say the influx of international guests will provide a welcome boost to the hospitality sector.

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Siddhartha Sattanathan, general manager of the Radisson Dubai Damac Hills, one of the closest hotels to the Dubai Expo site, told Al Arabiya English they have received an influx of bookings as the countdown to the Expo heightens.

“We have several ongoing inquiries and bookings for large groups from literally all over the world,” he said. “And hopefully as the current travel restrictions ease, we will have a lot more tourists looking to book in addition to the current inquiries from participating pavilions and delegations.”

“With the pavilions and delegations from all over the world arriving soon, I am sure they will see and experience for themselves all the different attractions, that Dubai, and the UAE has to offer. And to enjoy all the sights & sounds in the lovely weather that we enjoy here in this period.”

Sattanathan said the Expo will help boost revenues to the hospitality sector which took a hit during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A post-COVID boom

“Hoteliers in the UAE can consider ourselves fortunate, as the United Arab Emirates government and the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) have been very supportive to the industry and pragmatic in their approach in handling the pandemic. Food and beverage business is picking up now, especially as the restrictions on number of guests seated in restaurants have been relaxed,” Sattanathan said.

“Filling up rooms for non-beach hotels is bit more challenging with flight restrictions, and major source markets still being closed.”

“But we need to remain positive, and I am sure when the Expo begins, and travel is easier, we will hopefully have a bumper Quarter 4 in 2021 and Quarter 1 in 2022.”

International tourists can expect to chalk up a number of must-sees during their visit to the Expo, he said.

An illustration of Dubai's Expo 2020 site. (Supplied: Expo 2020)
An illustration of Dubai's Expo 2020 site. (Supplied: Expo 2020)

“The list of attractive qualities that Dubai has to offer is long, from the broad range of quality hotels and restaurants to suit different budgets.”

“In addition, there are beaches, leisure fun parks, shopping, adventure sports, a vibrant night life and world class sporting events – from golf to cricket – to be enjoyed in this period. And all of this to be enjoyed in a safe environment,” he added.

Newly opened this year, the Radisson Dubai Damac Hills, a four-star hotel, is only a hop, skip and a jump from the site and will greatly serve those looking to visit Expo 2020 Dubai too.

“There are many good reasons visitors should come here, starting with our relatively close proximity to the Expo site, which is an easy 15-minute ride away,” said Sattanathan.

“We are also a brand-new hotel, with very contemporary designed rooms with balconies overlooking a golf course on one side and desert views on the other. “Competitive pricing, bus shuttles plying to the Expo site and back, four different dining options, a 25-meter pool and spa to relax in, and special rates at the nearby golf courses are all good reasons to choose to stay with us.”

“We look forward eagerly to creating memorable moments for our guests.”

One month to go for the opening of Expo 2020 Dubai. This photo, taken by KhalifaSat from space, shows the site of the global cultural event that will bring together 191 countries in the UAE. (Supplied)
One month to go for the opening of Expo 2020 Dubai. This photo, taken by KhalifaSat from space, shows the site of the global cultural event that will bring together 191 countries in the UAE. (Supplied)

Competitive market

The only hotel at the Expo 2020 Dubai site has also opened for bookings – starting from Dh1,000 a night.

The Rove Expo 2020 has been marketed as having the best seats in the house given its spectacular view of Al Wasl Plaza, the “crown jewel” of the Expo 2020 Dubai site. The plaza’s enormous trellis dome will host the opening ceremony on October 1.

Paul Bridger, chief operating officer at Rove Hotels, said staff dealt with enquiries from more than 1,500 people - even before it opened for official bookings.

“We will have amazing views of the action and the event,” said Bridger. “We have had a huge response and a number of bookings already. There is so much anticipation for the Expo event itself and the hotel is part of that. There is a lot of pent-up demand.”

Michelle Purnell, marketing and communications manager at Studio One Hotel in Dubai Studio City, about 16 kilometers from the Dubai Expo 2020 site, also said the hotel has seen an increase in Expo related bookings.

A boost for Dubai

“This growth is expected to continue through the summer and into October,” she said.

As of May 2021, there were 128,545 hotel rooms in Dubai. This inventory spanned 715 hotel establishments, including 134 five-star hotels, according to Dubai Tourism.

The emirate has one of the highest number of hotel rooms in the world, according to a study by travel site Insider Monkey, and there will be at least 100,000 hotel rooms available for Expo guests.

Staged under the theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future,’ Expo 2020 Dubai will be the largest cultural gathering globally.

The 182-day event will see more than 200 entities create inspiring experiences, including countries, multilateral organizations, companies, and educational institutions.

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