Wed 22-03-2017 14:14 PM

International tourism to Dubai hit a record 12% year-to-date growth setting 2017 off on a strong trajectory

DUBAI, 22nd March, 2017 (WAM) -- Dubai’s tourism sector kicked off 2017 in high gear as the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, Dubai Tourism, reported a 12 percent year-on-year growth over the first two months of 2017, which saw Dubai welcoming just over three million visitors, nearly four times the rate of the previous year.

Supported by growth in all key markets, China and Russia in particular drove the volumes and set the stage for a strong first quarter result. This period witnessed a 60 percent growth in overnight tourists from China with January alone peaking at 102 percent, while attracting a total of 157,000 Chinese visitors across just the first two months. Reflecting an even more significant percentage increase, Russian visitors jumped by 84 percent over the same period last year with February delivering a massive 140 percent volume increase to bring a total of 65,000 travellers in the first two months.

Helal Saeed Almarri, Director-General of Dubai Tourism, said, "As we continue to invest in raising consideration for Dubai as the destination of choice for global travellers, our focus at Dubai Tourism is equally on increasing Dubai’s accessibility and removing barriers to travel by working closely with partners and stakeholders in the public and private sectors on both a federal and emirate level. Ultimately our collective aim is to make it as easy and seamless as possible for any prospective tourist from our diversified base of source markets to visit and revisit Dubai."

"We are delighted to see visitor numbers make a strong start in 2017. We work closely with the government on initiatives to drive increased visitation, and the decision by the leadership of the UAE to offer visas-on-arrival to our Chinese and Russian guests has already proven an astute one, as we have seen an almost instant positive effect from both countries. Dubai Tourism has invested significant efforts in marketing Dubai as an appealing destination for visitors from China and Russia, and we are encouraged to see such promising results," the Director-General added.

Following the visit of a high-level Dubai Government delegation and private stakeholders to China in October 2016, Dubai has progressively improved its ‘China Readiness’ at an overall city level across all aspects of the tourist journey, particularly across infrastructure components and key pillars of the destination proposition.

The Russian market has retained its trajectory of recovery that commenced last year, following a prolonged period of economic instability that resulted in a marked drop in Russian outbound travel. Having posted a year-on-year increase of 14 per cent in overnight visitation in 2016, the dramatic spike in 2017 so far is a strong indicator of the positive sentiment for outbound travel from the market, and more specifically the strong consideration for Dubai among couples and families.

"While the strong performance in January and February is encouraging and to be applauded, it is important to stress that we still have much to do as we face a dynamic global environment influenced by various macro-economic and geopolitical challenges. Nonetheless, we remain confident in the strength of Dubai’s appeal as a tier 1 travel destination and will continue to mitigate risks by pursuing a diversified source market strategy as we work towards our target of welcoming 20 million visitors per year by 2020," Almarri concluded.

WAM/NOS/Moran

WAM/NOS/Moran

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