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Mon 23 Oct 2006 04:00 AM

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Dubai reaches eighth position for French tourists

Dubai has moved up the list of top holiday destinations for French tourists, a study reveals.

Dubai has moved up the list of top holiday destinations for French tourists, a study reveals.

The number of French visitors to Dubai increased by more than 21% between 1995 and 2005, according to the results of a survey revealed during a recent three-day French Travel Trade Exhibition in Deauville, north France.

“The aggressive marketing and promotional initiatives in the promising French market is paying off, with substantial yearly increase in visitors from this market,” said Khalifa Ali Buamaim, manager overseas promotion at the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), which took part in the event.

Dubai took eighth slot on a list of destinations with the highest number of travel packages sold to French travellers, overtaking countries including Singapore, Lebanon and Cyprus. The total number of visitors coming to Dubai from France increased by 23.3% in 2005 compared to the previous year.

Figures for travel in the opposite direction are harder to determine, because the Schengen visa, which GCC nationals need to obtain before travelling to Europe, allow these visitors to move freely between European countries without being checked at every border.

But according to Pascal Lepetre, director of the French tourism promotion bureau, Maison de la France, UAE arrivals to France are on the rise.

“The short war in Lebanon did cause a further increase in the number of people coming to places like France and Egypt, but it is impossible to tell exactly how many,” he said.

Statistics compiled by Parisian hotels also indicated more Middle East travellers were visiting the French capital, he added.

Statistics from the French Consulate in Abu Dhabi reveal that around 4000 Emirati nationals were granted Schengen visas between September 2005 and the end of August.

There are currently 73 weekly flights between Dubai and France.

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