Dubai attracted more than 14 million overnight visitors last year, positions as the fourth most visited city in the world.

Dubai Makes Big Numbers



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 513,000 visitors.

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.

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