A record total of 8.06 million international overnight tourists arrived in Dubai during the first six months of 2017, reflecting a stellar 10.6 per cent increase over the same period last year.
Figures released by Dubai’s Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing affirm the foundational strength, and sustained acceleration of the emirate’s tourism sector, as it stayed the course of its impressive growth trajectory from January this year, underscoring the expanding appeal of Dubai as a global tourism destination of choice.
Almost all of Dubai’s top 20 inbound visitor source markets saw positive or near stable year-on-year performances in the first half of 2017, with five of the top ten delivering standout double-digit growth.
India continued to top the list of traffic generators, for the first time crossing the one million mark over a six-month period with 1,051,000 Indians visiting the city between January and June, up 21 per cent over the same period last year.
Saudi Arabia and the UK retained their spots as the second and third largest feeder markets respectively, with the former rallying to stabilise in June despite facing economic challenges in 2017, while the latter delivered reliable volumes backed by solid four per cent year-on-year growth.
The strategic impetus of recent regulatory changes granting citizens from China and Russia free visa-on-arrival access to the UAE was evident in the continued growth peaks being delivered from these markets as they topped the charts with 55 per cent and 97 per cent increases respectively over the first six months of 2016.
As a result, China delivered 413,000 visitors to end half one of 2017 in fifth place, and Russia cemented its return to the top ten with 233,000 visitors.
With the exception of Oman – the GCC’s second highest volume driver – which continued its negative slide through 2017 witnessing a sharp 30 per cent decline, the remainder of the top ten all saw increased contributions.
The USA continued its resurgence to end mid-year up six per cent in sixth place, followed by Pakistan up 11 per cent in seventh, Iran up 27 per cent in eighth, and Germany up 6 per cent in ninth spots respectively.
Helal Saeed Almarri, director general, Dubai Tourism, commented: “We are extremely pleased that Dubai has sustained the momentum of growth we achieved in the first quarter to deliver a strong double-digit performance through half one of 2017, setting the stage for continued acceleration in tourism volumes and GDP contribution this year.
“Our strategic investments, innovative destination promotion programmes, responsive federal policy reforms, and long-term global partnerships are evidently paying dividends as we ramp up efforts to increase Dubai’s accessibility, visibility and overall appeal, minimise barriers to travel, and ultimately drive both first-time and repeat visitation.”