Dubai hospitality shines as Arabian Travel Market 2016 opens

Dubai hospitality shines as Arabian Travel Market 2016 opens
The Dubai pavilion during Arabian Travel Market at the Dubai World Trade Centre on Monday.

Dubai - Emirate hosts 4.1m overnight visitors in first quarter as GCC, subcontinent drive traffic


Issac John

Published: Tue 26 Apr 2016, 7:20 PM

Backed by strong double-digit growth from its top two proximity markets including the GCC and India, Dubai welcomed 4.1 million overnight visitors in the first three months of 2016, a 5.1 per cent increase over the same period last year, Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism), said on Monday.  
The GCC continued to be the destination's leading feeder region, delivering 25 per cent of all overnight visitation to Dubai in the first quarter. Visitors from Saudi Arabia grew 14 per cent to 476,000 from January to March in 2016, making it the number one source country, followed by strong growth from Oman, which increased by 32 per cent over the same period in 2015 with 322,000 visitors. Kuwait, which remained in the top 10 with119,000 visitors, and Qatar, which saw 26 per cent spike in visitor volumes, rounded off the high performing regional traffic with strong contributions.
The subcontinent also remained a key driver of tourism volumes with India growing at 17 per cent in the opening quarter to deliver 467,000 overnight visitors, making it the second largest feeder country, followed by Pakistan within the region, which swelled by 18 per cent over the same period.
Despite challenging global market conditions, and a strong US Dollar, visitors from Western Europe continued to be second largest source region with a 23 per cent visitor share overall in the opening quarter of 2016. This was led by 10 per cent year-on-year quarter growth from the United Kingdom, which remained Dubai's third largest country contributor with 334,000 visitors. Rounding off the top 5 was Germany which brought in 171,000 visitors, rebounding strongly from a slow start in the New Year. France, with 76,000 visitors, remained flat over first quarter 2015, whilst Italy grew five per cent, representing 69,000 visitors.
"Global travel in the first three months of this year has been impacted by geo-political, social and economic uncertainties, with most markets experiencing flat to negative growth. I see Dubai's highly agile, fragmented source market approach, the strength of our government, public and private sector partnerships, as well as our effective promotional and marketing outreach, as having been fundamental to fuelling overall growth," said Helal Saeed Almarri, director-general, Dubai Tourism.
"Markets within the four hour flight path, specifically the GCC and India, remain a critical focus for our on-going visitation attraction efforts as build towards our growth targets. With an expanded festivals and events calendar taking off extremely well in the first three months and the opening of a number of new retail destinations and attractions, we are constantly evolving our propositions to ensure that our markets have more reasons to return time and time again. This is only expected to increase in prevalence throughout the year as a number of flagship projects and initiatives come on line, adding more depth and diversity to the Dubai offering." 
Other key countries in Dubai's top 10 source markets for the first quarter included the USA, which delivered 166,000 visitors; China, which was up by four per cent and Iran, which was the only market to see a decline. Rounding out the top 20, the Philippines saw 25 per cent quarterly growth over the same period in 2015, Canadian visitors increased by nine per cent, countering declines across Egypt, Russia, Jordan, Australia and the Netherlands.
Dubai's retail landscape continues to evolve, with numerous new shopping areas and international brands, such as City Walk 2, Box Park and The Beach complex in Jumeirah Beach Residence, adding to Dubai's already strong offering made up of over 95 malls as well as traditional Arabian souks.  
Dubai's accommodation portfolio also saw growth with 676 establishments in operation as of March 2016, representing 98,949 rooms across all hotel and hotel apartment categories. New hotel openings, such as the Palazzo Versace and The St Regis Dubai, ensure the city maintains its reputation for luxury, while a host of new mid-market hotels - encouraged by Dubai Tourism-led incentives - are expanding options available to visitors.

More news from Business