Dubai is fourth most visited city in the world

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Dubai is fourth most visited city in the world

Dubai - Emirate attracts over 14.2 million overnight visitors in 2015, an increase of 7.5%.

By Rohma Sadaqat

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Published: Wed 27 Jan 2016, 6:58 PM

Last updated: Thu 28 Jan 2016, 1:50 AM

Dubai made steady progress in achieving its vision of attracting 20 million visitors by 2020, recording a 7.5 per cent increase in visitor numbers in 2015, figures released by Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) have shown.

Dubai attracted over 14.2 million overnight visitors in 2015, double the United Nations World Travel Organisation's projected three to four per cent global travel growth for the same period.

The GCC region contributed the bulk of the visitor volumes, followed by Western Europe and South Asia. A total of 13.2 million tourists visited Dubai in 2014, representing a year-on-year increase of 8.2 per cent.

"Last year was very strong for Dubai's travel sector, achieving double the global industry growth levels. Our international visitation hit 14.2 million, which firmly positions us as the fourth most visited city in the world," said Helal Saeed Almarri, director-general of Dubai Tourism.

"Yet, if Dubai is to hit its 20 million visitors per year target in the next five years, we must deliver a threshold seven to eight per cent annual growth consistently, which has put even greater emphasis on strong sector-wide collaboration," he added.

The GCC delivered the highest share of visitor volumes for 2015, with 3.3 million, up 12.8 per cent over 2014.

In terms of country-specific volumes from the GCC, Saudi Arabia remained the lead market, contributing 1.54 million visitors, followed by Oman accounting for over one million travellers.

Kuwait and Qatar were also among the top 20 markets, with the former the only one to register a decline in growth versus 2014, yet retaining its top 10 position. Qatar recovered strongly from mid-year with a 32 per cent year-on-year increase for the full year of 2015.

Despite a sluggish economy and a strong US dollar constraining Dubai's competitiveness, Western Europe remained the second highest regional contributor to visitor volumes, bringing in nearly three million tourists, reflecting a solid 6.1 per cent growth in numbers. The UK remained within Dubai's top three source countries with 11 per cent growth, accounting for nearly 1.2 million visitors.

South Asia was the next largest region by volume, bringing in 2.3 million visitors, reflecting a 21.7 per cent increase versus 2014. India dominated the region, becoming Dubai's number one source market for the first time with over 1.6 million tourists. The country was the second fastest growing market with a 26 per cent year-on-year growth, followed by Pakistan that ranked just outside the top five, ending 2015 at 11 per cent growth and 513,000 visitors.

The Americas brought in just short of 1 million travellers, growing at a healthy 8.2% thanks to the strong airlift and increase in point-to-point routes from both east and west coasts, with the United States growing at 3% to retain its position within the top five source markets for Dubai, and Canada also staying within the top 20 with a 13% growth in volumes.

Positive growth across stalwart markets and emerging countries helped offset negative trends in the consolidated Russia, CIS and Eastern European region, which saw a 22.5% decline in travellers, as well as the Australasia region, which dropped 6.3% year on year. Africa remained flat compared to last year, offsetting a weak Nigerian market due to commodity declines and currency restrictions, with growth in Sub-Saharan markets following successful road shows and trade network development in developing markets such as Kenya and Democratic Republic of Congo.

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