By Staff writer
Dubai's tourism chief says figures show Dubai was the fourth most visited city in the world last year
Dubai attracted over 14.2 million overnight visitors in 2015, a 7.5 percent increase over 2014, according to annual figures released by Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing.
The figure means Dubai was the fourth most visited city in the world last year, said Helal Saeed Almarri, director general, Dubai Tourism.
The GCC delivered the highest share of visitor volumes for 2015, with a total of 3.3 million, up 12.8 percent over the previous year, with Saudi Arabia remaining the largest source market.
Despite a sluggish economy and a strong US dollar constraining Dubai's competitiveness, Western Europe remained the second highest regional contributor to visitor volumes, bringing in nearly 3 million tourists, up 6.1 percent.
Almarri added: "Last year was a very strong year for Dubai's travel sector, achieving double the global industry growth levels and our international visitation hitting 14.2 million, which firmly positions us as the fourth most visited city in the world.
"2015 was volatile for travel globally, as we have all witnessed a range of disruptive factors, ranging from slackening economic growth in Asian and European markets to currency fluctuations across the world.
"Yet if Dubai is to hit its 20 million visitors per year target in the next five years, we must deliver a threshold 7-8 percent annual growth consistently, which has put even greater emphasis on strong sector-wide collaboration.
"Our performance over the past 12 months is undeniably reflective of the resilience of our diversified market strategy, our unified industry-level responsiveness, and ultimately the sustained strength of Dubai's proposition."
Positive growth across stalwart markets and emerging countries helped offset negative trends in the consolidated Russia, CIS and Eastern European region, which saw a 22.5 percent decline in travellers, as well as the Australasia region, which dropped 6.3 percent year on year.
Almarri said: "Building on our core multi-source visitation strategy, we have been able to prudently balance our risk exposure to specific geographies, shift our investment to frontier growth markets for Dubai, and be much more targeted on penetrating niche segments within our stronghold markets.
"Additionally, we have been very focused on ensuring a committed presence in markets with high levels of disposable income, such as China, and those with future potential like Nigeria or Indonesia that have a growing tourism base to tap into.
He added: "Through 2016 we will continue to leverage increasing airlift, open and streamlined visa policies, and a broad destination appeal that offers something for all travel segments."
Applaudable ... Even with tough global conditions this gentleman has pulled in the numbers. I am sure the target will be cracked much earlier!