China, Russia and Germany post strong double-digit growth among top 10 visitor markets
Visitors to Dubai remained steady as it welcomed 11.58 million visitors in the first nine months of 2018, according to figures by the emirate's Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism).
India retained its position as Dubai’s leading source market, followed by Saudi Arabia and the UK. Russia, China and Germany followed suit, each recording double-digit growth compared to the same period in 2017.
Tourism from Russia grew 60% year-on-year, with visitor numbers rising to 460,000 in the first nine months of 2018. An increase in Russian overnight guests was the result of 19% growth in air capacity across non-stop flights, as well as ease of travel following the introduction of visa-on-arrival facilities in the last two years.
China also benefited from the visa-on-arrival scheme, boasting 641,000 visitors to Dubai this year, a 12% increase from 573,000 for the same period last year.
Moreover, the number of German tourists grew 15% to reach 388,000 visitors during the first nine months.
Dubai also saw 20% of overnight visitors arrive from Western Europe despite a strong US dollar, followed by the GCC which made up 19% of overnight visitors during the first nine months of 2018.
South Asia followed suit with a 17% share, while South East Asia and the MENA and North regions came after with 11% and 10% respectively.
Russia, CIS and Eastern Europe accounted for 7% whilst the Americas showed a slight increase to 7%. Africa also witnessed a slight growth to 6% and Australasia maintained 2%.
South Asia Eastern Europe experienced 2% year-on-year growth to deliver 8% of overnight visitors during the same time period.
Helal Almarri, Director General of Dubai Tourism said, “With 11.58 million tourists to date this year, we have maintained our position as the fourth most visited city in the world according to the 2018 MasterCard Global Cities Index, and will continue to work towards delivering stability throughout Q4 despite wider macro-economic challenges.”
Further visitor growth is expected thanks to initiatives including the stopover visa which exempts transit passengers from all entry fees for the first 48 hours of their stay.
The growth in tourism has led to an increase in hospitality offerings, with 706 establishments offering a total of 112,381 available rooms in Dubai as of September 2018, a 4% increase compared to 678 establishments, and 6% increase compared to 106,167 available rooms in 2017. Average occupancy for the hotel sector stood at 75%, with establishments delivering a combined 21.89 million occupied room nights during the first nine months of 2018.