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Friday, 09 February, 2018, 09 : 00 AM [IST]

Dubai records 15% y-o-y increase in terms of Indian visitors in 2017

India retained top spot on Dubai’s list of source markets in 2017, contributing 2.1 million visitors and becoming the first country to cross the 2 million mark in a single year. The country’s performance represented a 15% year-on-year increase. Dubai recorded a strong 6.2% year-on-year increase in international overnight visitation in 2017, accelerating the 5% growth witnessed in the previous year and propelling the emirate’s momentum towards its 2020 goal of welcoming 20 million visitors per year by the start of the next decade. According to the latest data published by Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism), a total of 15.79 million tourists visited Dubai last year, setting a new record for the emirate.

Commenting on the annual performance, HE Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General, Dubai Tourism, said, “Under the visionary leadership of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister, UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the emirate has continued to capture share of the global outbound travel market, complemented by a significant increase in tourism-driven economic contribution to the country’s GDP. Our strong 6.2% growth in 2017 has allowed us to ramp up the pace towards meeting our 2020 targets, and today Dubai’s travel and tourism sector is not only well positioned to offer a superlative destination experience across its eight core strategic propositions, but also geared to accelerate its appeal to the diverse and evolving needs of our global travellers.”

“With Dubai firmly consolidating its position as the fourth most visited city globally, we remain confident that our performance, backed by the continued strength of our partnerships across government and private sector stakeholders, will enable us to successfully attain our goals of becoming the #1 most visited city as well as being the most recommended with the highest number of repeat Dubai loyalists,”

In terms of top source markets of Dubai, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) followed India to end the year in second place, contributing a total of 1.53 million tourists last year. Despite an overall 7% year-on-year drop in visitation, it remained the highest driver of traffic volumes from within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Third-placed UK, delivered 1.27 million travellers, rising 2% over 2016. China is fifth placed with 764,000 tourists, up 41% while eighth-placed Russia with 530,000 visitors, recorded a stellar 121% increase over the previous year. USA, Germany and Iran recorded 633,000, 506,000 and 503,000 visitors respectively.

Western Europe replaced the GCC as Dubai’s main regional source market with a 21% share, contributing more than 3.2 million travellers, up 5.5%. Although last year’s top performer ended 2017 in second place, the GCC region still maintained a high share of volume at 19%, delivering an overall 3.02 million travellers to Dubai. Driven by India, the South Asia region, in third place, contributed an 18% of over 2.8 million visitors, up a strong 10.6%, followed by the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and North and South-East Asia regions in joint fourth position, each contributing close to 1.7 million visitors and independently commanding 11% share, the former recording a 3.2% increase and the latter, an impressive 23.6% over 2016 visitation figures.

Underscoring the successful delivery of its diversified market strategy, Dubai’s regional mix saw the biggest year-on-year gain of 51.8% from the Russia, CIS and Eastern Europe block, contributing more than 1.1 million visitors and representing a share of 7%; the Americas with a 6% share made up of just under 1 million visitors, up 7.7%; the Africa region with a 5% share made up of more than 780,000 travellers, up 6.7%; and finally Australasia with a 2% share of overall volumes, albeit posting a slight 0.5% year-on-year with a total of just under 340,000 visitors.

Almarri continued, “Dubai’s strong performance in 2017 can be attributed to the effectiveness of Dubai Tourism’s three-pronged strategic framework, focused on market diversity, agility and personalisation in outreach, and continuous proposition evolution. Through the past year, our numbers demonstrate our growing destination appeal and competitiveness, mitigating single-market exposure – none of which would be possible without the strength of our partnerships across the government, public and private sectors. Going forward, this commitment to collaboration across our tourism ecosystem stakeholders is crucial as we work towards our shared goals.”

Dubai’s hospitality sector continued to make further strides in expanding its offering to match the evolving needs of visitors, both in terms of scale and breadth. By the end of 2017, a total of 107,431 keys were available across all hotel and hotel apartment establishments, representing growth of 4% on the previous year. Within this, the most significant expansion of inventory came within the 4-star segment, with a 10% increase to 25,289 rooms.
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