Dubai: It may be a full house in Dubai this weekend. The emirate is expected to receive 1.5 million visitors from otherGCC countries during Eid, with one million tourists expected from Saudi Arabia alone, according to a government official.
Ebrahim Saleh, festival co-ordinator general at the Dubai Events and Promotions Establishment (DEPE), said that based on feedback from tour operators, hotels and shopping malls, he estimates Dubai could receive 1.5 million visitors from across the Gulf region during the Eid break.
Hotels in Dubai are expecting 90 to 100 per cent occupancy and rising room rates due to demand from Gulf visitors, especially Saudi nationals, in addition to Eastern European guests, they say.
Emirates Grand Hotel is already fully booked for Eid, mostly with GCC visitors, said Frank Owens, hotel general manager and area director for business development.
With the surge in demand, hotel room rates are going up.
Arabian Courtyard Hotel and Spa has increased its average daily rate this year compared to the Eid Al Adha period last year and expects a full house during the holiday, said hotel general manager Habib Khan. About a quarter of the guests are from the GCC, 20 per cent are local residents, 20 per cent from Europe, 10 per cent from the subcontinent, 10 per cent from Australia and 15 per cent from others countries, he said.
Ramada Downtown Dubai expects 90 per cent occupancy during Eid and is currently 85 per cent full, said Wael Al Behi, the hotel’s general manager.
“The majority of the guests booking at Ramada Downtown for Eid are from the different parts of the GCC region. More than 70 per cent of our guests will be from GCC and this is with the purpose of spending their week-long holidays in Dubai, which is more vibrant during this season,” he said adding that the trend of malls opening 24 hours has been a big draw for most guests. The cost of booking suites starts from Dh1,200, he added.
At Al Bustan Centre and Residence, about 75 to 80 per cent of guests are from GCC countries, said hotel chief executive Mousa Al Hayek.
The fifth edition of Eid in Dubai was launched on October 18 and runs until November 2.
Sulaiman Al Muhaimad from Saudi Arabia loves visiting Dubai with his family every year, he said: “The distance from Saudi Arabia to Dubai is not long and driving all the way here is even more fun.
“My kids love ‘Eid in Dubai’ and keep asking me when we will return every time we leave the UAE,” he said, referring to his 12-year old son Ali and 7-year old twins Hoor and Fajr.
Mashail Abdul Aziz, her husband Mohammad Nasser and children, Hamad, Mira and Latifa are also among the thousands of people from the GCC who have flocked to Dubai. “I usually travel a lot to Europe but have heard a lot of people talk about Dubai and its attractions. Now that I am in Dubai, it has become my favourite place. This is a great place to be, especially because you can pick up some amazing offers,” said Mashail.
Ten-year-old Abdullah Fahd and Mohammad Fahd, also from Saudi Arabia, are in Dubai with their families and plan to spend most of their holidays going to the movies. They are also looking forward to ‘Dubai Water Bash Day’, a water-based fun event that will be held on October 27 at Zabeel Park, and visits to Wild Wadi Water Park.