dubai attracted 149 million overnight visitors
Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
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Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
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Dubai Tourism in 2016

Dubai attracted 14.9 million overnight visitors

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Arab Today, arab today Dubai attracted 14.9 million overnight visitors

Dubai
Dubai - Arab Today

Dubai attracted 14.9 million overnight visitors in 2016, recording a healthy five percent increase over 2015, and an impressive four-year (2012-2016) compound annual growth rate or CAGR of eight percent since Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, launched the 2020 tourism strategy. 

According to the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, Dubai Tourism, the performance trajectory, which reflects twice the global travel industry growth of approximately four percent over the same period as predicted by the United Nations World Travel Organisation, UNWTO, cements the foundation for Dubai Tourism to maintain a stable momentum over the next three years and attain its goals. 

The strong performance of the emirate's tourism industry, amid a particularly turbulent year across the world, not only assures progress towards an annual target of 20 million visitors by 2020, but also the increased sector-driven economic contribution to Dubai's GDP. 

"Under the visionary leadership and support of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid, the year 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, delivering the highest value to the domestic economy with our No. 1 ranking in terms of spend per tourist compared to any other competitor destination," said Helal Saeed Almarri, Director-General of Dubai Tourism. 

"Our growth through a period of unforeseen macroeconomic upheavals, particularly across our feeder markets, validates the ability of Dubai's tourism sector to adapt and respond with agility in all our markets, effectively diversify investments and deploy strategies to minimise single-market exposure, and dynamically converge as an industry across government, private and public sectors to grow our destination appeal and competitiveness," he added. 

"The effectiveness of our three-pronged approach is evidenced by the encouraging 13 percent growth in volumes in South Asia, led by India, despite the demonetisation and cash pressures facing that market. Similarly, Saudi Arabia remained the dominant market within the GCC, bringing first-time and significant repeat travellers to Dubai," he elaborated. 

"Another case in point is our tenacity in the United Kingdom (UK) post the Brexit announcement and the ensuing over 20 percent currency devaluation, where we saw a commendable five percent growth in visits. The highlights of 2016 include the massive 20 percent 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 percent growth in overnight traffic. 

"Business from both countries is expected to further accelerate throughout 2017, thanks to the UAE's recent implementation of visas-on-arrival for all their citizens," Almarri added. 

The GCC remained the top volume generator for Dubai tourism, delivering the highest share in visitor volumes with a total of 3.4 million, up five percent over 2015. In terms of country-specific performance, Saudi Arabia spearheaded the contribution with over 1.6 million visitors, a six percent increase, with Oman next in line, accounting for more than 1 million travellers. 

Kuwait and Qatar retained their top-20 status, registering an annual growth of two percent and nine percent, respectively. On a regional level, Western Europe followed closely as the second highest demand driver for travel to Dubai, accounting for 21 percent of the total tourism volumes with more than 3.1 million tourists, representing a solid four percent annual growth. The UK retained its position as Dubai's No. 3 market, bringing in nearly 1.25 million visitors, while Germany stayed comfortably in the top 10 list, maintaining a stable performance with 460,000 visitors. 

The South Asian markets spanning the Indian subcontinent continued to deliver impressive volumes for both first-time and repeat traffic, demonstrating the ability of Dubai to drive regular reconsideration through a diverse range of evolving destination offerings. Leading the list of traffic generators to Dubai in 2016, India brought in just under 1.8 million overnight tourists, reflecting a 12 percent growth, while Pakistan also featured among the top 10 markets, bringing in 607,000 tourists and growing at a strong 18 percent over 2015. 

Dubai remained a preferred destination for proximity markets across the wider Middle East and North African region that collectively contributed 1.6 million visitors despite heightened regional challenges. Much of the remaining volume came from countries within the top 20, including the likes of Egypt and Jordan, which showed signs of return to stability and looked poised to drive future regional growth. 

Dubai welcomed a total of 1.36 million travellers from North and Southeast Asian markets as the Asian region emerged the next largest contributor accounting for nine percent of overall visits and reflecting the highest increase over 2015 at 15 percent. With 540,000 Chinese tourists coming in last year, China dominated the Asian demand and firmly cemented its status as a top-10 market. This growth is predicted to accelerate in light of the visa exemption policies that came into force in November 2016. The Philippines also saw an impressive year with a stellar 20 percent growth translating in 390,000 visitors, which enabled it to maintain its No. 11 position in source market rankings. 

The Americas collectively brought in just short of one million overnight travellers, maintaining stability in performance. The US led with a steady 607,000 visitors despite 2016 being an election year that impacted outbound travel volumes, followed by Canada, which stayed in the top 20 list and delivered 176,000 visitors, up five percent. 

Rounding off the major regional contributors were Russia, the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Central European markets accounting for five percent of the overall tourism volume, led strongly by recoveries from both Russia and Ukraine. The former saw a particularly resilient comeback with 240,000 visitors, up 14 percent over 2015, and remains on a positive upward trajectory that is expected to spike now that Russia has become the latest entrant in the list of 47 countries exempted from the UAE entry visa requirements, as of February 2017. 

Positive growth across resolute markets and new-frontier countries for Dubai has helped offset negative trends in the African region, which saw a seven percent decline in travellers, and the Australasia region, which saw a nine percent drop year over year. 

Source: WAM

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