By Sam Bridge
Official figures reveal a 4.3% rise in tourists visiting Dubai during the first nine months of 2019
A surge in arrivals over the summer months accelerated Dubai’s tourism momentum, as the city welcomed 12.08 million international overnight visitors in the first nine months of 2019, according to official figures.
Dubai’s Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) reported a 4.3 percent increase in volume growth compared to the same period last year, citing expansion of traditional and emerging markets.
The positive performance, which drew over 1.23 million visitors to the city in September, an above market average increase of 7.3 percent over the same month in 2018, coincided with Dubai being ranked the fourth most visited city in the world for the fifth year in a row in Mastercard’s Global Destination Cities Index 2019.
India retained its position as Dubai’s leading source market, with over 1.39 million visitors during the first nine months of 2019, followed by Saudi Arabia which registered a two percent year-on-year growth for over 1.25 million visitors, largely driven by the its National Day holiday on September 23.
Despite the devaluation of the pound against the dollar, and continued Brexit uncertainty, UK remained Dubai’s third largest source market with 851,000 visitors.
Oman delivered 778,000 visitors for a 28 percent increase year-on-year, with China, one of the fastest-growing source markets, further increasing tourism volumes, taking fifth spot with a 14 percent increase that saw 729,000 Chinese tourists being welcomed in the first nine months of 2019.
The United States, Germany and Pakistan also retained their positions in the top 10 alongside Philippines, one of the fastest-growing feeder markets, which delivered a 29 percent increase.
Helal Saeed Almarri, director general, Dubai Tourism, said: “Our market-specific diversified strategy aimed at driving consideration from a broad spectrum of countries and visitor segments, continues to help us successfully navigate macro-economic vagaries over a nine-month period, culminating in a record number of visitors between January-September, particularly those choosing Dubai as their summer destination of choice.
“The ongoing consolidation in traditional strongholds and a concerted outreach in tapping the vast potential in emerging markets, yielded further dividends especially at a regional-level across Europe and GCC, in addition to the very encouraging performances from our Asian and African markets.
"As we head into 2020, our efforts will remain focused on attracting new, first-time and repeat visitors from emerging, as well as established markets, to ensure that Dubai stays at the forefront of the world’s widely recommended travel destinations,” he added.
Dubai’s cruise industry continued to play a pivotal role in contributing to the emirate’s tourism sector, with its 2018/2019 cruise season witnessing a record increase of over 51 percent in cruise tourist inflow and a 38 percent increase in cruise ship calls season-on-season.
A total of 716 hospitality establishments offer a cumulative 119,779 available rooms in the emirate as of September, a seven percent increase over the same period last year.
Average occupancy for the hotel sector stood at 73 percent, one of the highest in the world, with establishments delivering a combined 23.12 million occupied room nights during the nine months of the year.