First nine months of 2017 see tourist arrivals up 7.5% in Dubai

A total of 11.58 million international overnight visitors arrived in Dubai during the first nine months of 2017, a 7.5% increase over the same period last year

Travel, Tourism

A total of 11.58 million international overnight visitors arrived in Dubai during the first nine months of 2017, reflecting a 7.5% increase over the same period last year, according to the latest data released by Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism).

India retained top spot on Dubai’s list of source markets for inbound tourism, with 1,478,000 Indian tourists arriving in the city between January and September, registering a 20% rise over the same period in 2016.

Meanwhile, China stayed in fifth place with a 49% year-on-year growth, delivering 573,000 visitors in the first nine months of the year and continuing to benefit from regulatory changes introduced in late 2016 granting Chinese citizens free visa-on-arrival access to the UAE.

Saudi Arabia and the UK also retained their positions as Dubai’s second and third largest feeder markets respectively. A total of 1,250,000 Saudis and 905,000 British travellers arrived in the emirate between January and September 2017, the former showing a slight drop compared to the first nine months of 2016, reflecting the ongoing economic challenges facing Saudi Arabia, while the UK witnessed a 2% year-on-year increase despite continued Brexit instability.

Almost all the top 10 markets – with the exception of Oman and Kuwait, which saw declines of 23% and 3% respectively – posted increases in tourist traffic, including sixth-placed USA up 6%, seventh-placed Pakistan up 4%, eighth-placed Iran up 16% and ninth-placed Germany up 6%.

Among the top 20 feeders of traffic, Russia topped the growth charts, posting an increase of 95% and continuing the resurgence seen earlier in the year following the February introduction of UAE visa-on-arrival access for Russian citizens.

Philippines in 11th position, France in 15th, Jordan in 17th and Lebanon in 19th also saw double-digit year-on-year increases of 10%, 12%, 18% and 15% respectively, with 13th-placed Egypt, 16th-placed Italy and 18th-placed Canada showing lower, yet stable increases at 2%, 4% and 1% respectively. Only two markets – Australia and Bahrain – witnessed nominal declines of 2% each.

From a regional perspective, the GCC emerged as the largest contributor of overnight visitor volumes, with a 21% share compared to second-placed Western Europe’s 20%. These were closely followed by South Asia with a share of 18%, the MENA and North and South-East Asia regions with 11% each, the Americas and the Russia, CIS and Eastern Europe bloc with 6% each, Africa with 5% and Australasia with 2%.

His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, director general, Dubai Tourism, commented: "The sustained growth ahead of the global average that we have witnessed so far this year is indicative of the positive impact yielded by our consolidated strategy across regulatory measures, promotional efforts, trade initiatives and partner programmes."

He added: "Ultimately, our aim is to make every satisfied Dubai visitor our customer for life and our strongest advocate, in order to drive not only higher repeat traffic but also acquire newer audiences most efficiently, as we strive towards our 20 million target by 2020.

“At the same time, in line with the 10X Agenda set by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, we are focused on continuously innovating, harnessing the power of data, redefining the customer journey and amplifying the voice of the traveller, to ensure that Dubai is a decade ahead of any other global city from a travel and tourism perspective."

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