Sun shines bright on Dubai tourism
The tourism industry in Dubai continued to enjoy decent growth in the first quarter of 2018, thanks to increased tourist inflow from key markets India, Russia, China, Germany, France and Italy.
According to Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, the number of international overnight tourists to Dubai increased 2 per cent to 4.7 million during the January-March period.
Tourist arrivals from India increased 7 per cent to 617,000, while Saudi Arabia and the UK declined 1 per cent and 8 per cent, respectively.
The number of tourists from Russia witnessed a massive 106 per cent jump in the quarter, topping the growth chart with 259,000 Russians visiting the emirate. Fifth-placed China delivered 258,000 visitors, up a strong 12 per cent. This is mainly because of the visa-on-arrival facility granted to Russian and Chinese citizens.
Helal Saeed Almarri, director-general of Dubai Tourism, said the first quarter of the year has yielded stable performance supporting strong growth for all adjacent sectors like hotels and airlines.
Moussa El Hayek, chief operating officer at Al Bustan Centre & Residence, said Dubai is a progressive city, always having fast-changing landscapes. With a lot of newer attractions coming up, tourists are always have something up on the list to visit and enjoy.
"With lot of newer developments in terms of infrastructure and attractions we are sure tourism industry will attract a lot of good tourist inflow. Reasonable pricing from the stakeholders will surely make Dubai an affordable destination. Secondly, the visa on arrival for Russians and Chinese has given a good boost to the tourism sector in Dubai," El Hayek said.
According to Dubai Tourism, Europe made particularly strong contributions with most of the countries posting double-digit increases.
Tourists from Germany increased 13 per cent with 194,000 visitors, France was up 17 per cent with 103,000 at 12th place and 14th-placed Italy rose 20 per cent with 80,000. In a record first appearance, Sweden featured among Dubai's top 20 source markets, delivering 42,000 visitors, up 9 per cent.
Rounding off the top 10 feeder markets, sixth-placed Oman ended down 4 per cent. Travellers from eighth-placed US increased by a moderate 2 per cent, while declines were witnessed by both ninth-placed Iran and 10th-placed Pakistan at 19 and 22 per cent, respectively.
From a regional perspective, Western Europe retained pole position, contributing 23 per cent of overnight visitor volumes, ahead of the GCC and South Asia, both with 17 per cent shares.
At the end of March 2018, Dubai's growing hotel room inventory stood at 108,807, spread across 689 hotel and hotel apartment establishments, representing year-on-year increases of 4 and 1 per cent, respectively.
Occupied room nights also rose compared to the end of Q1 2017, totalling 8.27 million versus 7.96 million, while the average occupancy rate across all hotel and hotel apartment categories stood at an impressive 87 per cent.
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