The emirate of Dubai welcomed 8.36 million international overnight visitors in the first six months of 2019, posting a positive three percent 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).
India once again led the pack, drawing the highest half year volumes with 997,000 visitors – particularly noteworthy given the severe air traffic and seat capacity challenges due to geopolitical volatilities. Dubai continued to drive booking interest from Indians on a mass scale largely due to high-impact delivery of segment and season-specific campaigns across the most accessible Tier-1 and Tier-2 cities.
“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 as envisioned by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The consequent rise in value creation opportunities, and more inclusive sector participation are core priorities, as we equally strive to sustainably grow GDP contribution,” says Helal Saeed Almarri, director general of Dubai Tourism.
“Our first half results are a particularly encouraging reflection of our progress towards this ambition and underline the effectiveness of our diversified market outreach with holistic ‘awareness to booking’ cycle content amplification and audience delivery, through a deeply networked ecosystem of global partners, industry stakeholders and government enablers,” he adds.
Coming in strong as Dubai’s second largest feeder market once again, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) delivered 755,000 visitors at two percent year-on-year growth over six months with a notable 4.9 percent increase over 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), amid growing political and economic turbulence surrounding Brexit.
With over 501,000 Chinese visitors to Dubai from January to June 2019, the stellar 11 percent year-on-year growth is testament to Dubai Tourism’s successful strategies to maintain high conversion appeal for China’s outbound market.
Very close on China’s heels, the second GCC stronghold – Oman – catapulted into the top five with a massive 28 percent growth to land 499,000 visitors in Dubai.
Proximity markets across the MENA region maintained a volume of 10 percent, with Egypt specifically jumping to 13th place recording a 10 percent increase in visitors, while Russia, CIS and the Eastern Europe region followed with a strong nine percent share of the tourist base.
Between January and June 2019, further strides were made to expand Dubai’s hospitality offering to match the evolving needs of visitors, with the opening of new hotels including Waldorf Astoria Dubai International Financial Centre, W Hotel Palm Jumeirah, Studio One Hotel, Rove at the Park at Dubai Parks and Resorts, Premier Inn Hotel Al Jadaf and Vida Emirates Hills.
Average occupancy for the hotel sector stood at 76 percent – 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 percent 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 percent increase, which showcased continued strong investor confidence in Dubai’s tourism demand and market appetite.