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Tue 24 May 2016 09:11 AM

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Dubai expects 2.5 million Saudi tourists in 2020

Visitor numbers from the kingdom expected to grow by 60%

Dubai expects 2.5 million Saudi tourists in 2020

The number of Saudis visiting Dubai is expected to reach 2.5 million in the next few years, according to a UAE official.

About 1.5 million Saudi tourists visited the emirate in 2015.

And that number will balloon by 60 per cent in the next four years, said Issam Kazim, CEO of the Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing.

Visitors to Dubai from GCC countries made up 25 per cent of the total number of Dubai tourists in the first quarter of 2016, said Kazim, with 456,000 Saudis visiting between January and March, a 14 per cent increase on the same period in 2015.

Indian tourists made up the second-most Dubai visitors with 17 per cent, totalling 467,000, while 322,000 Omanis made the short trip to the emirate.

Some 166,000 US citizens visited Dubai during the first quarter of the year. Iran was the only country that saw a decline in the number of visitors to Dubai.

"Markets that are within four hours of Dubai by plane, especially the GCC countries and India, are still an important focus for us,” said Kazim.

“Dubai tends to attract a huge number of tourists because of efforts to promote tourism potential based on the wide list of festivals and other attractive events.”

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