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Mon 12 Sep 2016 10:12 AM

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Dubai aims to become No. 1 tourism hotspot for Asian visitors

Crown Prince of Dubai says Chinese visas on arrival decision will be 'paradigm shift' for tourism sector

Dubai aims to become No. 1 tourism hotspot for Asian visitors

Dubai is planning to establish itself as the number one tourist destination for visitors from Asia following a decision to grant Chinese tourists visas on arrival, according to Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai.

He said in a statement that the Chinese visas move would be a "paradigm shift" for the tourist sector, adding that he would closely monitor the progress of the tourism industry in Dubai so it fulfils the plan to welcome 20 million tourists by 2020 through 53 government initiatives.

"We are planning to establish Dubai as the first destination for tourists from Asia," he said in comments published by news agency WAM.

Since coming to office, Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum had transformed Dubai's desert into the world's fourth largest destination for tourism and doubled the sector's size six-fold, said Sheikh Hamdan.

Hotel capacity has rocketed from 15,000 rooms to more than 100,000 rooms, and tourist arrivals to more than 14.2 million in 2015, he said.

"HH's directives to property developers to develop family leisure destinations will enable us to welcome an additional five million holidaymakers," he added.

Dubai welcomed 14.2 million visitors in 2015, a rise of 7.5 percent from 2014. The growth in visitor numbers is double the United Nations World Travel Organisation’s (UNWTO) projected 3-4 percent global travel growth for the same period.

India has become Dubai’s top tourist source for the first time, with more than 1.6 million visitors in 2015. Saudi Arabia followed with 1.54 million visitors.

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