Dubai recorded a strong 6.2 percent year-on –year increase in international overnight visitation in 2017, expanding the 5 percent growth witnessed in the previous year and propelling the emirate’s momentum towards its 2020 goal of welcoming 20 million visitors per year by the start of the next decade.
According to the latest data published by Dubai’s department of tourism and commerce marketing (Dubai Tourism), a total number of 15.79 tourists visited Dubai last year, setting a new record for the emirate and underlining the sustained strength and resilience of its travel and tourism sector.
Helal Saeed Almarri, the Director General of Dubai Tourism, said: “under the visitor leadership of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the emirate has continued to capture a big share of the global outbound travel market, complemented by a significant increase in tourism-driven economic contribution to the country’s GDP.”
Dubai is strengthening its position as the fourth most visited city globally. Officials there are hopeful that its tourism packages coupled with partnerships with the various government agencies and the private sector, will help the emirate in attaining its goals of becoming the number one most visited city as well as being the city that is most recommended and has the highest number of repeat visitors.
Saudi Arabia is ranked second on the list of countries whose citizens visited Dubai the most. A total of 1.53 million Saudi tourists visited the emirate last year. Despite an overall 7 percent year-on-year drop in visitation, it remained the highest driver of traffic volumes from within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
Third place UK, meanwhile delivered 1.27 million travelers, increasing by 2 percent over 2016. This underscores Dubai’s enduring popularity among British travelers despite lingering uncertainty surrounding Brexit that has impacted overall outbound travel growth from this market.
Western Europe replaced the GCC as Dubai’s main tourism source market with a 21 percent share, contributing more than 3.2 million travelers up 5.5 percent. Although last year’s top performer ended 2017 in second place, the GCC region still maintains a high share of volume at 19 percent, delivering an overall 3.02 million travelers to Dubai. This 4 percentage point decline in GCC share was, however, effectively countered by year-on-year increase in tourist volumes from all other regional source markets except Australia.
The South Asia region, in third place, contributed an 18 percent share of over 2.8 million visitors, up a strong 10.6 percent, followed by the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The north and south-east Asia regions in joint fourth positions, each contributed close to 1.7 million visitors and independently commanding 11 percent share, the former recording a 3.2 percent increase and the latter, an impressive 23.6 percent over 2016 visitation figures.
Dubai’s regional mix saw the biggest year-on-year gain of 51.8 percent from Russia and the Eastern European block, contributing more than 1.1 million visitors and representing a share of 7 percent; the Americas with a 6 percent share made up of just under 1 million visitors, up 7.7 percent; the Africa region with a 5 percent share up of more than 780,000 travelers, up 6.7 percent.