Visitorswatch the dancing fountain at the Dubai Mall. A recent UAE law easing visa requirements helped to boost tourism in the emirate last year. [Ayman Mohamed/Al-Shorfa]

A recent spike in Dubai tourism has been attracting regional and international food product suppliers to hotels and the hospitality sector, according to food sector companies operating in the emirate.
The tourism boom also has heightened competition among local companies for food supply contracts, they said.
In March, Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing announced that hotels in the emirate received more than 11.6 million visitors in 2014, a 5.6% increase over the previous year.
This represents a significant rise across various key indicators, including hotel revenues, and supports Dubai’s plans to welcome 20 million visitors by 2020, the department said.
A UAE law that went into effect last March which exempts citizens from 13 European Union countries from having to obtain a visa prior to traveling to the UAE has contributed to the rise in tourism, the department noted in a recent report.
“The UAE market is currently witnessing fierce competition among local and international companies in the supply of food products to hotels and the hospitality industry,” said Ibrahim Samad, assistant marketing manager at Dofreeze, a food manufacturer.
“This is a result of increasing demand from this sector due to growth in local tourism, with a surge in visitors from the Middle East, Gulf countries or European countries,” he said.
Dofreeze has registered a 15% to 20% increase in sales to hotels and the hospitality sector over the past six months, he told Al-Shorfa.
“Competition for food supply contracts to local markets is centered around competitive prices and higher quality goods provided by companies, especially with the entry of global companies into the market to compete with local companies,” he said.
“The revival of the tourism and hospitality sector in Dubai and the emirates has led to fiercer competition for food supply contracts among companies active in this sector,” said Al-Kabeer Group marketing head Rishi Srivastava.
The food processing and supply company has registered varying rates of growth for supplying UAE hotels over the last year, particularly in Dubai, he said.
At Galadari EDAM International Food, “28% of the company’s overall sales during last year have gone to the hotel and hospitality sector, with a 5% rise compared with 2013”, said head of operations Finu Franklin.
Franklin said he anticipated similar growth rates in 2015 for the company, which specialises in the supply and manufacturing of food products, as tourism growth indicators continue to rise in the UAE.
“Brazilian dairy companies in particular and Brazilian food companies in general are currently seeking to increase their sales to UAE markets in order to take advantage of the rising demand in the hospitality industry in the country, specifically in Dubai, in light of the increase in visitors and tourists,” said Bernhard J. Smid, head of marketing for the Brazilian Dairy Producers firm.
Dubai is considered a regional tourism hub in the Arab Gulf that makes it an attractive market for international companies, he said.