One step closer to its 2020 goal of welcoming 20 million visitors, the year 2017 proved fruitful for Dubai, with the city having witnessed a 6.2 per cent year-on-year jump in international visitors.
According to figures released by Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism), a total of 15.79 million tourists visited the city last year – a new record for the emirate.
Director general, Dubai Tourism, HE Helal Saeed Almarri commented on the results: “Under the visionary leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the emirate has continued to capture share of the global outbound travel market, complemented by a significant increase in tourism-driven economic contribution to the country’s GDP. Our strong 6.2 per cent growth in 2017 has allowed us to ramp up the pace towards meeting our 2020 targets, and today Dubai’s travel and tourism sector is not only well positioned to offer a superlative destination experience across its eight core strategic propositions, but also geared to accelerate its appeal to the diverse and evolving needs of our global travellers.”
He continued: “With Dubai firmly consolidating its position as the fourth most visited city globally, we remain confident that our performance, backed by the continued strength of our partnerships across government and private sector stakeholders, will enable us to successfully attain our goals of becoming the #1 most visited city, as well as being the most recommended, with the highest number of repeat Dubai loyalists.”
With regards to county-specific performance, India maintained its top spot last year, bringing forth 2.1 million visitors – a 15 per cent year-on-year increase. The KSA also retained its second-place rank, contributing 1.53 million tourists in 2017, while assuming third place was the UK, which delivered 1.27 million travellers – a two per cent rise on the previous year.
Impressive results were also brought forth by China (+41 per cent), with 764,000 arrivals, and Russia (+121 per cent), with 530,000 visitors, with increased contributions from the USA, Germany and Iran, at 633,000, 506,000 and 503,000 visitors respectively.
Western Europe replaced the GCC as Dubai’s number one regional source market, contributing over 3.2 million travellers – bringing forth a healthy 5.5 per cent rise – and making up a 21 per cent share of the city’s overall visitors. The GCC, now in second place, still maintained a high share of volume at 19 per cent, delivering an overall 3.02 million travellers to Dubai. Meanwhile, South Asia came in third, contributing an 18 per cent share of over 2.8 million visitors – up 10.6 per cent, followed by the MENA region, and North and South-East Asia regions in joint fourth position, each contributing close to 1.7 million visitors and independently commanding 11 per cent share, the former recording a 3.2 per cent increase and the latter, an impressive 23.6 per cent over 2016 visitation figures.
Finally, Dubai’s regional mix witnessed the biggest year-on-year gain of 51.8 per cent from the Russia, CIS and Eastern Europe block, contributing more than 1.1 million visitors and representing a share of seven per cent; the Americas with a six per cent share made up of just under one million visitors – up 7.7 per cent; the Africa region with a five per cent share made up of more than 780,000 travellers – up 6.7 per cent; and finally Australasia with a two per cent share of overall volumes, with a total of just under 340,000 visitors.