UAE 'is a world-class tourism hub'
The UAE has been hailed as a world-class tourism hub and the country is likely to become increasingly popular among holidaymakers in years to come.According to the new biennial index for global travel and tourism competitiveness released by the World Economic Forum and Booz & Company, the UAE is the leading destination in the Middle East and North Africa region.It moved up two places in the rankings - from 30th to 28th - which is an impressive feat, considering 140 different countries were considered. Switzerland came out on top overall, closely followed by Germany and Austria.George Atalla, partner at Booz & Company, said the UAE has managed to build a "thriving" travel and tourism industry."It is also a world-class international hub for global air travel," he remarked."With its year-round sunshine, white-sand beaches, shopping malls, entertainment centres, recreational facilities and some of the finest restaurants in the world, UAE is definitely a popular tourist destination."There is little doubt that Dubai is the jewel in the UAE's crown and the emirate continues to attract millions of holidaymakers each year.Representatives of the city's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) recently confirmed that more than ten million people enjoyed a leisure-based trip to Dubai in 2012, which was a 9.3 per cent improvement on 2011. This, if nothing else, shows the city's tourism sector is expanding each year.With 66 million people expected to pass through Dubai International Airport in 2013, hotel owners are licking their lips. Indeed, the DTCM confirmed that hotel occupancy rates have risen sharply in the past year and this has enabled resort operators to hike their prices.The average room rate climbed from AED 563 in 2011 to AED 588 in 2012 and, despite the fact more huge hotels are expected to be built in 2013, asking prices are likely to go up yet again in the next 12 months.With Dubai's tourism industry clearly in good health, it makes sense for property investors to snap up hotels, apartments and other accommodation in the city as soon as possible.