Hotels in Dubai expect to handle 20 million more room nights a year by 2019.

Overnight visitors staying hotels in the emirate rose by 6.2% last year to almost 15.8 million.

Occupied room nights are projected to reach 35.5 million annually in 2019, representing 10.2% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the next 24 months.

Dubai’s hotel inventory stood at 107,431 rooms at the end of 2017, with growth of 4% over the course of the year.

The occupancy level was stable at 78% despite capacity increase, thanks to the growth in overnight stays.

“The robust performance is particularly significant as it came amid challenging economic and political conditions across key source markets, including the volatility impact of fluctuating oil prices and Brexit,” Dubai Tourism said.

Hotels were also faced with a strong US dollar impacting Dubai’s global price competitiveness due to a fixed currency peg with the UAE dirham.

This was partially mitigated by price corrections as hotel average daily rates declined 4% in 2017 “to maintain affordability” against other tourism destinations.

However, net prices still increased by about 10% from 2013 to 2017 for most global consumers, delivering a 30% increase in guest traffic, according to a study by Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing.

The emirate’s room supply is set to reach 132,000 by the end of 2019, growing by more than 11%.

Meanwhile, occupancy levels are forecast to remain at an “extremely healthy” 76%-78% despite growth in capacity.

Room inventory in the 3 and 4 star categories is projected to continue to grow at 10% and 13% respectively through to the end of 2019.

The diversification of the hotel sector is part of a strategic focus on widening Dubai’s tourist base, enabling the city to attract larger numbers from new markets.

Further growth will be fuelled by the ongoing development of tourist attractions in Dubai, such as theme parks, museums and shops.

Dubai Tourism director general Helal Saeed Almarri said: “Dubai’s position as the fourth most visited city in the world, and the consistent growth in overnight visitation, has been achieved in large part thanks to the efforts of our committed stakeholders in the domestic hotel and hospitality sector.

He added: “As one of the key levers of visitor growth, hotels are integral to Dubai’s destination promise, reflected in the strong reputation this aspect of the city has garnered globally.

“In order to meet our ambitious targets and appeal to an ever-widening base and personalised preferences of today’s traveller, it is imperative that the hospitality sector is geared to not only meet and satisfy demands, but also to deliver a lasting impression that creates advocates for Dubai, driving repeat visitation as well.

“Ever evolving to incorporate more options for visitors, Dubai’s tourism proposition already has a diverse mix across all key pillars of our proposition, including retail, gastronomy, beach and marine, adventure, family entertainment, and events.

“Across all these areas we expect to see a continued evolution to keep our offerings refreshed, renewed and most cutting-edge to ensure that we are not only appealing to new audiences and first-time visitors, but are always top-of-mind for those that have visited before.

“It’s encouraging to see that all these components of the travel experience are being adequately planned for by our private sector stakeholders as they will play a critical role in our continued growth and global competitiveness.

“On the back of all these enablers we expect to see not only volume growth but also value capture – as these drive tourist demand and spend, and as such the portfolio of hospitality options in Dubai will concurrently grow to provide the supply required to meet it.”