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Saudis choose Dubai during the Eid holiday - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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File photo of the Palm Jumeirah man-made island in Dubai, a major tourist attraction. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

File photo of the Palm Jumeirah man-made island in Dubai, a major tourist attraction. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat—Is it expected that by the end of the summer vacation, 1.6 million Saudi tourists will have visited the United Arab Emirates, accounting for 80 percent of the total number of Gulf tourists to the UAE. Dubai is expected to attract the lion’s share of Saudi tourists in the region.

Experts highlighted that Saudi tourists made up a large part of the attendees at the Dubai Summer Festival 2013. They also pointed out that tourism between Saudi Arabia and UAE is experiencing accelerated growth rates.

This increase in tourism from Saudi Arabia has prompted many businesses in Dubai to design and launch programs and hotel deals in line with the preferences of Saudi tourists and their families.

In light of this, Saudis were ranked first in terms of visitors to Dubai in 2012, with the number of guests at hotels increasing by more than 29 percent. More than 1.1 million Saudi guests stayed at Dubai hotels in 2012, compared to 873,152 in 2011.

Commenting on these developments, Yousif Mukhtar, the regional director of sales for the company that runs the Atlantis The Palm Resort in Dubai, told Asharq Al-Awsat that Atlantis The Palm hosted a large number of Saudi tourists during last year’s Eid season. He emphasized that that “they occupied more than 3,075 rooms at the hotel during Eid, and bookings are expected to increase by 15 percent this year.”

Mukhtar added: “We maintained the usual price, particularly for room bookings, taking into account the level of services provided by the resort facilities. . . . The hotel team has made sure to improve the services the resort provides its guests, making everything practical for families.”

Economics and finance expert Fahad Al-Mashari told Asharq Al-Awsat that the geopolitical situation in the Arab region has contributed to the increase in Saudi tourism to Dubai. He said: “Saudis now consider Dubai the tourist destination that checks most of their boxes, and they look for secure and attractive destinations. This is to be expected, in light of the outbreak of recent revolutions.”