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Wed 12 Apr 2017 02:52 PM

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Dubai’s 96-hour tourist visa boosts longer stays in UAE

More global tourists opting to stay for 6 to 8 nights in emirate, says new report

Dubai’s 96-hour tourist visa boosts longer stays in UAE

A rising number of global travellers to the UAE are opting for longer stays in the country, partly driven by the 96-hour visa for any airline traveller in Dubai.

ForwardKeys, in its latest report, said the fastest growing group is now those staying between six to eight nights in the country. Its forecast of future travel patterns is based on its analysis of 16 million booking transactions a day.

With short stays of - one to three nights – representing 67 percent of arrivals during the last 12 months in the UAE, overall short stay bookings for April and May 2017 continue to remain stronger than the same months last year, driven by bookings from the UK, France and Indonesia. June, however, is lagging because to the Ramadan period.

According to the company, the UK, the US and Kuwait contributed to the growth of both short-stay and long-stay travellers to the UAE. Chinese arrivals for long stays boomed when the free-of-charge, visa-on-arrival was introduced in November 2016, it added.

Bookings for long stays in Dubai are currently more than 28 percent ahead of last year, driven by European and US travellers planning for Easter and spring holidays. Russians will also be arriving in increasing numbers, not only for the Easter weekend, but also in late April and early May for spring holiday, Labour Day and Victory Day, the company said.

Saudi Arabia also contributes to the Easter booking surge – possibly due to expats living there taking a break in the UAE, it said.

Olivier Jager, chief executive officer, ForwardKeys, said: “These findings show significant progress in the UAE’s attractiveness as a destination and further potential advancement for the UAE economy.”

The company will release full details of the report at the 13th Arabian Hotel Investment Conference in Dubai, which runs from April 25 to 27.

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