Dubai attracts record 8.1 million tourists in first half of 2018

Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing says the emirate’s tourism sector is now worth $29.6bn a year

Dubai welcomed a record 8.10 million international overnight tourists during the first six months of 2018, according to figures released on Wednesday.

Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) stated that the emirate’s tourism sector was now worth AED109 billion ($29.6 billion) a year as of the end of 2017.

The UAE’s main source markets – India, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom (UK) – retained their top three standings whilst also showing stable year-0n-year growth in the first half of 2018 compared with figures from the previous year.

India, the UAE’s biggest source market, continued to bring in the highest number of international guests, once again crossing the 1 million mark over a six-month period, up by three percent year-on-year.

China ended the first half of 2018 in fourth place, continuing its upward trajectory by nine percent to deliver 453,000 tourists while Russia topped the growth charts with a 74 percent increase over H1 2017, delivering 405,000 visitors.

The growth of both of these markets can be attributed to the added ease of travel access following the introduction of visa-on-arrival facilities for Chinese and Russian citizens in late 2016 and early 2017, respectively.

According to the Director General of Dubai Tourism, the first half of 2018 has both generated and sustained a steady performance, supporting strong growth across the emirate’s global feeder markets. He goes on to conclude that attracting 8.10 million visitors during the first half of 2018 stands the UAE in good stead to achieve its goal of becoming the most visited city in the world.

It is likely that the upcoming visa regulation changes, which exempts dependents aged 18 years and below from visa fees,  will have a positive affect on the number of travelers visiting the UAE over the summer months and bolster the overall tourism numbers further in the long-term.

The recent move to introduce a value-added tax (VAT) refund system for tourists will undoubtedly ensure the tourism industry’s competitiveness on the global stage and further drive growth in the sectors contribution to Dubai’s GDP.

Dubai’s hotel room inventory is further testament to the record tourism numbers so far in 2018. Of the 700 establishments surveyed in Dubai, the total room inventory stood at 111,317 at the end of June, up seven percent compared with the figure this time last year.

 Source: Arabian Business