Dubai remains on track to becoming the most visited city for global travel, business and events, according to the latest visitation figures released by Dubai’s Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism).
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.
Russia, China and Germany continued to be key drivers within the top performing markets, each recording double-digit growth, compared to the same period in 2017. Also, tourism from Russia remained on a high trajectory, growing by a massive 60% year-on-year, with visitor numbers surging to 460,000 in just the first nine months of 2018. The increase in Russian overnight guests was supported by a strong 19% growth in air capacity across non-stop flights, in addition to added ease of travel following the introduction of visa-on-arrival facilities during the last two years.
China also continued to highlight benefits from the visa-on-arrival scheme, complementing the ongoing ‘China Readiness’ strategy, consequently re-enforcing its upward curve, resulting in China securing its position as the fourth largest feeder market, with an impressive 641,000 visitors so far this year, marking a 12 percent increase versus 573,000 for the same period last year. Germany grew even faster at 15 percent to reach 388,000 visitors during the first nine months, landing in eighth place within the top 10 source markets for Dubai.
From a regional perspective, the first nine months saw 20 percent of overnight visitors arrive from Western Europe, despite a strong US dollar, reinforcing Dubai’s growing appeal to target segments within these markets and maintaining its leading regional position from 2017 - an indicator of successful ongoing destination marketing strategies delivering customised messaging across specialised audience-specific platforms. Close behind in second place was the GCC region, which made up 19% of the emirate’s overnight visitors during the first nine months. These were closely followed by South Asia, with a share of 17 percent, South East Asia, and MENA and North regions, with 11 percent and 10 percent, respectively, Russia, CIS and Eastern Europe accounted for seven percent whilst the Americas showed a slight increase to seven percent. Africa also witnessed a slight growth to six percent and Australasia maintained two percent.
The wide geographical spread reflects Dubai’s diversified market strategy, aimed at driving consideration from a broad spectrum of countries and visitor segments.
Tourism growth has contributed to an increase in hospitality offerings, with 706 establishments offering a cumulative 112,381 available rooms in the emirate, as of September 2018, a solid four percent increase compared to 678 establishments, and six percent increase, with 106,167 available rooms in 2017. Average occupancy for the hotel sector stood at 75 percent, underscoring the industry’s stability, despite the rising inventory supply, with establishments delivering a combined 21.89 million occupied room nights during the first nine months of the year.