Dubai set for another record year, as tourist arrivals shut up by 7.5% in Q3


Dubai has retained its position as the choice destination for international tourists in 2017 and is on track for another record year in terms of tourist volumes, according to the latest data released by Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism).

Dubai attracted a total of 11.58 million international overnight visitors who arrived in Dubai during the first nine months of 2017, reflecting a 7.5 per cent increase over the same period last year, underlining the strength of the emirate’s tourism industry as well as the growing appeal of Dubai as a global tourism destination of choice.

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 significant 20 percent rise over the same period in 2016. This increase affirmed the effectiveness of various innovative promotional activities driven by Dubai Tourism in the market, including highly successful influencer-led collaborations with Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan.

China stayed in fifth place with impressively large 49 per cent 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, with a total of 1,250,000 Saudis and 905,000 British travellers respectively. The former showeda slight drop compared to the first nine months of 2016, reflecting the ongoing economic challenges facing Saudi Arabia, while the UK witnessed a resilient 2 per cent 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 percent respectively – posted healthy increases in tourist traffic, including sixth-placed USA up 6 per cent, seventh-placed Pakistan up 4 per cent, eighth-placed Iran up 16 per cent and ninth-placed Germany up 6 per cent.

From a regional perspective, the GCC emerged as the largest contributor of overnight visitor volumes, with a 21 per cent share compared to second-placed Western Europe’s 20 per cent. These were closely followed by South Asia with a share of 18 per cent, the MENA and North and South-East Asia regions with 11 per cent each, the Americas and the Russia, CIS and Eastern Europe bloc with 6 per cent each, Africa with 5 per cent and Australasia with 2 per cent.The wide geographical spread reflects Dubai’s diversified market strategy aimed at driving consideration from a broad spectrum of countries and visitor segments.

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.

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.”

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Dubai’s hotel sector, meanwhile, also saw significant growth, with the city’s total number of hotel and hotel apartment keys standing at 106,167 at the end of the third quarter of 2017, representing an aggregated 6 per cent increase in capacity over a 12-month period versus end of September 2016.

With the ultimate vision of positioning Dubai as the world’s leading tourism destination and commercial hub, Dubai Tourism’s mission is to increase the awareness of Dubai to global audiences and to attract tourists and inward investment into the emirate.

Dubai Tourism is the principal authority for the planning, supervision, development and marketing of Dubai’s tourism sector; markets and promotes the emirate’s commerce sector; and is responsible for the licencing and classification of all tourism services, including hotels, tour operators and travel agents. Brands and departments within the Dubai Tourism portfolio include Dubai Business Events, Dubai Calendar, and Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment.

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