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Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism)'s annual visitor figures showed that the emirate attracted 14.9 million overnight visitors in 2016.

This number is a 5% increase over 2015, and a four-year CAGR of 8%, from 2012 until 2016, which is when His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, launched the 2020 tourism strategy.

This performance trajectory reflects twice the global travel industry growth of 4% over the same period as forecasted by the United Nations World Travel Organisation (UNWTO).

His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, director general, Dubai Tourism, said in a statement: "Under the visionary leadership and support of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, 2016 was another milestone marker for Dubai’s travel sector, as we rallied strong, and ramped up the momentum to significantly outpace the four-year global industry average by double.

"With our international overnight traffic reaching 14.9 million, Dubai has cemented its ranking as the fourth most visited city in the world, critically delivering the highest value to the domestic economy with our number one ranking in terms of spend per tourist compared to any other competitor destination."

HE Almarri revealed that Dubai saw 13% growth in volumes from South Asia led by India, with KSA remaining the dominant market within the GCC.

Despite the vote for Brexit in 2016, UK visitors to Dubai increased by 5%.

He continued: "Highlights of 2016 include the massive 20% boost in Chinese visitors, crossing the half million mark for the first time with 540,000 tourists arriving in Dubai; and the definitive resurgence of Russian inbound tourism recording a 14% growth in overnight traffic. Both countries are only expected to further accelerate through 2017 thanks to the UAE’s recent implementation of visas-on-arrival for all their citizens."

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The GCC remained the top volume generator for tourism to Dubai, delivering the highest share of visitor volumes for 2016, with a total of 3.4 million, up 5% over 2015. In terms of country-specific performance, KSA spearheaded the contribution with over 1.6 million visitors, a 6% increase, with Oman next in line accounting for over 1 million travellers. Kuwait and Qatar retained their top 20 status, registering an annual growth of 2% and 9% respectively.

On a regional level, Western Europe followed closely as second highest demand driver for travel to Dubai, accounting for 21% of the total 2016 tourism volumes with more than 3.1 million tourists, which represents a 4% annual growth. The UK retained its position as Dubai’s number three market bringing in nearly 1.25 million visitors, while Germany stayed comfortably within the top 10 list maintaining stable performance with 460,000 visitors.

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