Dubai’s tourism sector sustained the momentum of its strong 2017 start, with the emirate reporting an 11 percent increase in overnight visitation in the first three months of the year.
Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) said in a statement that the city saw 4.57 million travellers in Q1, more than double the growth achieved in the first quarter of 2016.
Among Dubai’s top 20 source markets for inbound tourism, China and Russia continued to top the growth trajectory charts with 64 percent and 106 percent increases over Q1 2016, delivering 230,000 and 126,000 tourists respectively.
The big jump comes as citizens from both countries can now obtain free visas-on-arrival in the UAE.
Retaining their stronghold on the top three positions were India, Saudi Arabia and the UK, accounting collectively for 30 percent of total Q1 visitation to Dubai, with India becoming the first ever market to record nearly 580,000 visitors in any one quarter, Dubai Tourism said.
From a regional perspective, Dubai saw another first as Western Europe took on pole position, contributing 22 percent of the overnight visitor volumes, ahead of the traditional GCC market leadership.
Helal Saeed Almarri, director general, Dubai Tourism, said: “Q1 2017 has set us off on a very strong trajectory for the year and we are pleased to see our strategic investments and policy reforms yielding such definitive impact.
“As Dubai continues to evolve and expand the breadth and depth of its tourism proposition, we expect to amplify the appeal of our city as the top consideration for not only first-time but also repeat business and leisure travellers.
“China and Russia’s strong acceleration in response to our initiatives are a clear reflection of the importance of such measures as facilitators of tourism sector growth.”
Dubai’s hotel room inventory stood at 104,503 spread across 680 establishments at the end of the first quarter of 2017, the latter figure representing a 6 percent growth over the end of March last year, the statement noted.
Occupied room nights were also up year on year, totalling 7.96 million compared to 7.55 million at the end of Q1 2016, with the average occupancy rate across all hotel and hotel apartment categories increasing 2 percent over the same period to reach a 87 percent, it added.