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Mon 24 Apr 2017 03:53 PM

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Chinese, Russian visitor growth boosts Dubai tourism in Q1

Emirate reports 11% increase in overnight visitation in the first three months of the year; India remains top source market

Chinese, Russian visitor growth boosts Dubai tourism in Q1
Helal Saeed Almarri, director general, Dubai Tourism.

Dubai’s tourism sector sustained the momentum of its strong 2017 start, with the emirate reporting an 11 percent increase in overnight visitation in the first three months of the year.

Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) said in a statement that the city saw 4.57 million travellers in Q1, more than double the growth achieved in the first quarter of 2016.

Among Dubai’s top 20 source markets for inbound tourism, China and Russia continued to top the growth trajectory charts with 64 percent and 106 percent increases over Q1 2016, delivering 230,000 and 126,000 tourists respectively.

The big jump comes as citizens from both countries can now obtain free visas-on-arrival in the UAE.

Retaining their stronghold on the top three positions were India, Saudi Arabia and the UK, accounting collectively for 30 percent of total Q1 visitation to Dubai, with India becoming the first ever market to record nearly 580,000 visitors in any one quarter, Dubai Tourism said.

From a regional perspective, Dubai saw another first as Western Europe took on pole position, contributing 22 percent of the overnight visitor volumes, ahead of the traditional GCC market leadership.

Helal Saeed Almarri, director general, Dubai Tourism, said: “Q1 2017 has set us off on a very strong trajectory for the year and we are pleased to see our strategic investments and policy reforms yielding such definitive impact.

"As Dubai continues to evolve and expand the breadth and depth of its tourism proposition, we expect to amplify the appeal of our city as the top consideration for not only first-time but also repeat business and leisure travellers.

"China and Russia’s strong acceleration in response to our initiatives are a clear reflection of the importance of such measures as facilitators of tourism sector growth."

Dubai’s hotel room inventory stood at 104,503 spread across 680 establishments at the end of the first quarter of 2017, the latter figure representing a 6 percent growth over the end of March last year, the statement noted.

Occupied room nights were also up year on year, totalling 7.96 million compared to 7.55 million at the end of Q1 2016, with the average occupancy rate across all hotel and hotel apartment categories increasing 2 percent over the same period to reach a 87 percent, it added.

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ahmed 2 years ago

My question is how many Indians don't leave and overstay their visas? This is a problem in Asia who has begun tightening visas and increasing visa fees as a deterrent.

Ponder 2 years ago

Yes because Indians who have a US multiple entry visa (the requirement for visa on arrival for Indians coming to the UAE) will choose to overstay illegally in the UAE instead of the US. Indians who have US, schengen or Japanese visas are increasingly given visa free/or on arrival facility more so as time goes by.

Pray tell which country has increased visa fees for Indians recently? Besides Hong Kong which offers visa free travel for Indians - recent change being that 1 is required to pre-register before flying, a 15 minute process start to finish with e-permit being given online on the spot.

Japan loosened visa requirements for Indians recently giving multiple entry status - it does this for a handful of countries only. Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines all have loosened in pass few years to visa free or visa on arrival. Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore have migrated to a simple online e-system in some cases no need for visa if flying through and having visa of certain countries.