Tourism Alert: Where do visitors to Dubai come from?

By Rajive Singh

Burj Al Arab

DUBAI 7 May 2019: Dubai welcomed 4.75 million international overnight visitors in the first quarter of 2019, posting over 2 per cent increase in tourism volumes compared to the same period last year according to the latest data released by Dubai’s Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism).

In key highlights, India started strong, holding on to its position as Dubai’s largest source market, while the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and the UK maintained their second and third positions respectively, as the city continued to refresh its proposition and sustain its dynamic appeal to these traditional bases.

Dubai aims to become the #1 most visited, preferred and revisited global city for both leisure and business travelers, according to Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General, Dubai Tourism.

The Dubai International Visitor Survey that monitors audience sentiment and traveller engagement at relevant touch points across various destination pillars, revealed that 99.8 per cent of visitors were ‘happy’ or ‘extremely happy, while 99.7 per cent of visitors are likely to recommend Dubai to friends or family, reflecting a strong advocacy base.

Top Tourists

India drew the highest visitation with 564,836 visitors, followed by a strong 411,586 tourists from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), remaining the highest traffic volume generator for the GCC. The UK, meanwhile, retained its third position with an impressive 326,586 British travellers in just the first three months this year.

Growth from China continued at a high 13 per cent year-on-year, aided commendably by Dubai’s ‘China Readiness’ strategy, as 291,662 Chinese chose to visit the city, particularly driving their New Year holiday period in February. Oman followed in fifth place, topping the charts as the fastest growing source country with a stellar 27 per cent increase to deliver 263,182 visitors. Despite capacity constraints and strong competitor pricing, Dubai retained its attractiveness for Russia, welcoming 234,142 visitors, even as Germany was close at its heels with a 5% growth delivering 203,651 visitors.

Rounding off the top ten feeder markets, the USA witnessed a three per cent surge with 185,864 visitors, while Pakistan, in ninth place, welcomed 137,015 travellers followed by France with 121,189 overnight guests, rising two ranks with an impressive 17 per cent year-on-year increase.

From a regional perspective, Western Europe made strong contributions in overnight visitor volumes during Q1 2019, commanding a 23 per cent share compared to 2018 to maintain its leadership position, followed by the GCC and South Asia, contributing 17 and 16 per cent of all international visitation to the city respectively. North Asia and South-East Asia accounted for 11 per cent to reflect sustained interest and rising consideration for Dubai.

Markets across the MENA region, the wider CIS and Eastern Europe also maintained volumes of ten per cent each, while the Americas contributed seven per cent of the volume base. Africa delivered five per cent of the total visitation volumes, and Australasia rounded off the regional mix with one per cent of the market share. The diversified regional performance is a testament to the success of the Emirate’s continued globalization approach.

Al Marmoom Bedouin Experience

Shedding light on some of the city’s lesser known facets and untouched natural habitats, Dubai recently launched the Al Marmoom Bedouin Experience located in the UAE’s first national park and the largest tourism project activated in the region focusing on the desert environment, in conjunction with Dubai’s recent drive to showcase ecological diversity with the unspoilt mountainous enclaves of Hatta – rapidly gaining popularity with adventure-seekers and nature-lovers. The city continued its focus on providing tourists with ready access to a multitude of potential experiences – from city to beach to desert to hills, all within a short drive – delivering a powerful competitive positioning that is unique to Dubai.

Addressing the surge in interest for cultural offering, the first quarter of the year also saw the opening of Al Shindagha Museum, representing Phase 1 of the Dubai Historical District that aims to connect visitors with the rich heritage of the UAE. In addition, there has been an enhanced focus on highlighting the emirate’s history and traditions through art, architecture and design, with destinations like Al Seef that highlight the city’s pride and vision.

Dubai Gazette