Dubai welcomed 4.1 million overnight visitors in the first three months of 2016, a 5.1% increase over the same period last year, backed by strong double digit growth from its top two proximity markets, the GCC and India, according to figures released by Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism).
The GCC continued to be the destination’s leading feeder region, delivering 25% of all overnight visitation to Dubai in the first quarter. Visitors from Saudi Arabia grew 14% to 476,000 from January to March in 2016, making it the number one source country, followed by strong growth from Oman, which increased by 32% over the same period in 2015 with 322,000 visitors. Kuwait, which remained in the top 10 with119,000 visitors, and Qatar, which saw 26% spike in visitor volumes, rounded off the high performing regional traffic with strong contributions.
The Subcontinent also remained a key driver of tourism volumes with India growing at 17% in the opening quarter to deliver 467,000 overnight visitors, making it the second largest feeder country, followed by Pakistan within the region, which swelled by 18% over the same period.
Despite challenging global market conditions, and a strong US Dollar, visitors from Western Europe continued to be second largest source region with a 23% visitor share overall in the opening quarter of 2016. This was led by 10% year-on-year quarter growth from the United Kingdom, which remained Dubai’s third largest country contributor with 334,000 visitors. Rounding off the top 5 was Germany which brought in 171,000 visitors, rebounding strongly from a slow start in the new year. France, with 76,000 visitors, remained flat over Q1 2015, whilst Italy grew 5%, representing 69,000 visitors.
His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General, Dubai Tourism, said: “Global travel in the first three months of this year has been impacted by geo-political, social and economic uncertainties, with most markets experiencing flat to negative growth. I see Dubai’s highly agile, fragmented source market approach, the strength of our government, public and private sector partnerships, as well as our effective promotional and marketing outreach, as having been fundamental to fuelling overall growth.