Over 63 percent of travelers passing through Dubai airport in 2018 were in transit, with just 8 percent leaving the airport to explore, according to new data from Colliers International.
As Dubai moves towards its target of 20 million annual visitors by 2020 – in addition to five million more expected for Expo 2020 – a number of initiatives have been introduced to encourage stop-over tourism, including new transit visas and dedicated tourism packages.
“Last year, the UAE introduced a new transit visa allowing all transit passengers an exemption from entry fees for 48 hours with the option to extend up to 96 hours,” said Danielle Curtis, exhibition director ME, Arabian Travel Market.
“This visa is not only good for the country’s tourism sector but for the local economy as a whole, enticing passengers to view their transit not as an unwanted delay in their travels, but as a good opportunity to add value to their trip,” she added.
According to IATA, the Middle East is forecast to see an additional 290 million air passengers on routes to, from and within the region by 2037, with the total market size increasing to 501 million passengers during the same period.
“2018 was also an exciting year for new flight routes with GCC airlines alone adding 58 new flight routes, focusing on areas of consistent and substantial growth,” Curtis said. ‘With two thirds of the world’s population within an eight-hour flight from the GCC, it is an ideal base for exploring some of the world’s most interesting and previously inaccessible corners of the world.
“The GCC’s airlines are making it even easier with the continuous addition of new and direct flight routes,” he added.For all the latest business news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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