Dubai - Tourism is one of the cornerstones of Dubai's diversified economic growth.
Dubai has welcomed 8.36 million international overnight visitors in the first six months (January-June) of 2019, posting a positive three per cent in tourism volume growth compared to the same period last year, according to the latest data released by Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism).
Helal Saeed Almarri, director general, Dubai Tourism said: "Tourism is one of the cornerstones of Dubai's diversified economic growth, and we measure success based on our ability to aggressively advance towards our goal to be the number one most visited and most preferred city."
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India once again led the pack, drawing the highest half year volumes with 997,000 visitors, followed by Saudi Arabia at 755,000 visitors at two per cent year-on-year growth over six months with a notable 4.9 per cent increase over the Eid break alone - signifying continued stability in Dubai's attractiveness for Saudi families and millennials.
Staying firmly within Dubai's top three traffic drivers, the UK delivered 586,000 travellers beating all odds against a significantly devalued British Pound (vs. US Dollar), amidst growing political and economic turbulences surrounding Brexit.
With over 501,000 Chinese visitors to Dubai from January to June 2019, the stellar 11 per cent year-on-year growth from inarguably the world's most aggressively sought after consumers is testament to Dubai Tourism's successful strategies to maintain high conversion appeal for China's outbound market, said the DTCM statement issued in Dubai today.
Very close on China's heels, the second GCC stronghold - Oman - catapulted into the top five with a massive 28 per cent growth to land 499,000 visitors to Dubai, as Dubai Tourism's seasonal campaigns, tactical programmes and city activations reaped tangible dividends.
Following an exceptional resurgence in Dubai travel for 2018, thanks to the visa-on-arrival enablement, growth from Russia levelled to more sustainable levels, as H1 2019's sixth largest source market delivered 375,000 visitors to Dubai.
The United States followed in seventh spot with 329,000 visitors, marginally up from 327,000 visitors in H1 2018, supported by concerted marketing efforts and trade collaborations with five new trade partnerships developed in the first half of 2019, to raise awareness of the destination and promote holiday packages and deals.
Germany's five per cent growth to deliver 316,000 visitors, and Pakistan's three per cent growth to yield 253,000 visitors, brought them in at eighth and ninth positions respectively, as Philippines jumped three ranks into the top 10 finishing a strong first half with 216,000 travellers, reflecting a 29 per cent increase that made it the fastest growing source market for Dubai this year.
The collective performance of Western Europe helped it to retain its regional leadership with strong contributions in overnight visitor volumes during H1 2019. Commanding a 21 per cent share of arrivals, and in addition to UK and German contributions, 10 per cent growth stemmed from France and five per cent growth from Italy with the Netherlands and the Nordics adding to net volumes. The GCC and South Asia closely followed, with 18 and 16 per cent share of all international visits to the city respectively.
North Asia and South-East Asia accounted for 12 per cent to reflect not just China, but also growing consideration for Dubai in newer Eastern territories.
The proximity markets across the MENA region maintained a volume of 10 per cent, with Egypt specifically jumping to 13th place recording a 10 per cent increase in visitors, while Russia, CIS and the Eastern Europe region followed with a strong nine per cent share of the tourist base.
The Americas and Africa at seven and five per cent contributions respectively, proved the efficacy of market diversification strategies and Dubai's global appeal. Africa's strong showing with its nine per cent increase in terms of visitor numbers, was bolstered by the 28 per cent growth from Nigeria as one of the rapidly growing emerging markets pushing into the top 20 bracket for the first time in 2019.
Australasia rounded off the regional mix with two per cent of the market share, leveraging the appeal of Dubai as a stopover destination for long-haul travellers from this region.
Average occupancy for the hotel sector stood at 76 per cent - one of the highest hotel sector occupancies in the world - with establishments delivering a combined 15.71 million occupied room nights during the first six months of the year, a five per cent increase over the same period in 2018.
Spread across a total of 714 establishments, Dubai's hotel room inventory stood at 118,345 at the end of June 2019, representing a six per cent increase, which showcased continued strong investor confidence in Dubai's tourism demand and market appetite.
Luxury five-star and four-star hotels commanded 34 and 25 per cent of the emirate's total inventory, respectively.