Dubai attracted more than 14 million
overnight visitors last year, a 7.5% growth over the previous year and double
the United Nations World Travel Organisation’s projections for the country.
It also positions Dubai as the fourth most
visited city in the world.
This growth is particularly celebrated as 2015
was beset with some troubling times - slackening economic growth in Asian and
European markets to currency fluctuations across the world.
“Our performance over the past 12 months is undeniably reflective of
the resilience of our diversified market strategy, our unified industry-level
responsiveness, and ultimately the sustained strength of Dubai’s proposition,”
said His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, director general, Dubai Tourism.
Although Dubai largely pursued a
multi-geography visitation mix strategy, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)
remained the regional foothold, supporting continued demand from near-markets
to Dubai, consequently delivering the highest share of visitor volumes for
2015, with a total of 3.3 million, up 12.8% over 2014.
Western Europe remained the second highest
regional contributor to visitor volumes, bringing in nearly 3 million tourists,
reflecting a 6.1% growth in numbers.
Northern European markets across the
Nordics and the Benelux, while independently small in volume, have been
frontier growth generators for tourism traffic in 2015, on the back of growing
direct flight capacity from the region.
South Asia was the next largest region by
volume, bringing in 2.3 million visitors, reflecting a 21.7% increase versus
2014. India dominated the region, becoming Dubai’s number one source market for
the first time by bringing in over 1.6 million tourists, and the country was
the second fastest growing market with a 26% year-on-year growth, followed by
Pakistan that ranked just outside the top five, ending 2015 at 11% growth and
Over 1.6 million visitors came from the
wider Middle East and North Africa region, representing a 1.3% growth – a
strong outcome in the face of heightened regional disturbances. Iran delivered
a reliable 6% increase to enter the top 10 rankings as a key source market,
with much of the remaining volumes attributable to Egypt and Jordan, each
independently registering robust 15% growth versus 2014 for the full year.
Asian markets (excluding the Indian
sub-continent) were the next largest regional contributors with a total of 1.2
million travellers to Dubai – a 17.9% increase for 2015 compared to the
previous year. With 450,000 Chinese tourists to Dubai last year, inbound
traffic from China dominated the uptake from this region, topping the leader
board of year-on-year growth trends with a 29% increase in numbers. The
Philippines delivered 325,000 tourists, with a particularly strong third
quarter performance raising it to number 11 in the source market rankings.
The Americas brought in just under one
million travellers, growing at 8.2%. Positive growth across stalwart markets
and emerging countries helped offset negative trends in the consolidated
Russia, CIS and Eastern European region, which saw a 22.5% decline in
travellers, as well as the Australasia region, which dropped 6.3% year-on-year.
Tourism-related infrastructure and capacity
enhancement investment is expected to gain momentum in 2016 through more
segment-specific offerings such as culture and heritage attractions and
family-oriented theme parks, in addition to continued focus on enhancing the
business environment that underscores Dubai’s pursuit of becoming the number
one destination for travel, business and events.