Dubai: Growth In Tourist Arrivals Not As High As Expected

Dubai saw no growth in tourist arrivals in the first nine months of the year, according to official figures released on Sunday. The announcement comes after the emirate welcomed 0.5 per cent more tourists in the first half of the year.

The emirate welcomed 11.58 million visitors in the first three quarters of 2018, with India retaining its position as Dubai’s leading source market, followed by Saudi Arabia and the UK continuing to hold second and third positions respectively, underlining the city’s sustained appeal to its traditional strongholds and a wider diversified global audience.

Tourism from Russia grew 60% year-on-year, with visitor numbers rising to 460,000 in the first nine months of 2018. An increase in Russian overnight guests was the result of 19% growth in air capacity across non-stop flights, as well as ease of travel following the introduction of visa-on-arrival facilities in the last two years.

China also benefited from the visa-on-arrival scheme, boasting 641,000 visitors to Dubai this year, a 12% increase from 573,000 for the same period last year. Moreover, the number of German tourists grew 15% to reach 388,000 visitors during the first nine months.

Dubai also saw 20% of overnight visitors arrive from Western Europe despite a strong US dollar, followed by the GCC which made up 19% of overnight visitors during the first nine months of 2018.

South Asia followed suit with a 17% share, while South East Asia and the MENA and North regions came after with 11% and 10% respectively. Russia, CIS and Eastern Europe accounted for 7% whilst the Americas showed a slight increase to 7%. Africa also witnessed a slight growth to 6% and Australasia maintained 2%.

South Asia Eastern Europe experienced 2% year-on-year growth to deliver 8% of overnight visitors during the same time period.

Dubai Tourism said it expected further visitor growth thanks to a new policy exempting transit passengers from visa fees for 48 hours and other incentives.

The growth in tourism has led to an increase in hospitality offerings, with 706 establishments offering a total of 112,381 available rooms in Dubai as of September 2018, a 4% increase compared to 678 establishments, and 6% increase compared to 106,167 available rooms in 2017. Average occupancy for the hotel sector stood at 75%, with establishments delivering a combined 21.89 million occupied room nights during the first nine months of 2018.

Source Credit: Gulf Business