The number of tourists from Saudi Arabia marks an increase of 6 percent year-on-year, and reaffirms Dubai’s position as one of the most popular travel destinations among Saudis. (AFP/ Amer Hilabi)
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Dubai welcomed over 1.6 million overnight visitors from Saudi Arabia in 2016, the Annual Visitor Report 2016 released by Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) during this year’s Arabian Travel Market revealed.
The number of tourists from Saudi Arabia marks an increase of 6 percent over 2015, and reaffirms Dubai’s position as one of the most popular travel destinations among Saudis.
Furthermore, Saudi Arabia’s sizeable contribution toward the total of 14.9 million tourists that visited Dubai last year was second only to India’s 1.8 million, underlining the enduring importance of the Kingdom as a source market for inbound tourism to the emirate.
The GCC remains the number one volume generator for tourism to Dubai, delivering the highest share of visitors for 2016 with a total of 3.4 million, up 5 percent compared to 2015.
Saudi Arabia remained the dominant market within the region, bringing first-time and significant repeat travellers to Dubai, followed by Oman, which accounted for over 1 million overnight visitors.
Kuwait and Qatar both retained their top 20 status among Dubai’s source markets, registering an annual growth of 2 percent and 9 percent respectively.
Issam Kazim, CEO, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing, said: “The rising popularity of Dubai as a destination of choice reflects our relentless investments in building a vibrant tourism offering for visitors from across the region and beyond, as well as our concerted efforts to promote our Arabian heritage.
In many ways, Dubai represents a ‘home-from-home’ experience for our neighbors, making both an extended holiday and quick getaway an attractive travel proposition. A short flight from their home country opens up unique experiences for our guests from the GCC – who are made up of large families with children, young couples, business visitors, solo travellers and adventure-seekers.”
“Our performance in 2016 underscores the resilience of Dubai’s tourism sector and its ability to navigate multiple global headwinds as we remain the fourth most visited city in the world. Our world-class infrastructure and transportation system, incredible shopping and entertainment attractions, range of leisure and recreational experiences, unrivalled hospitality portfolio comprising international and home-grown brands, and our shared cultural heritage continue to drive visitation from the region and surpass forecasts for the global tourism industry.”
Dubai’s performance last year reflects not only the success of the emirate’s outward-facing measures, but also the in-country proposition enhancement, ranging from new attractions and offerings across entertainment and culture, to the 5 percent increase in room supply as Dubai crossed the 100,000-mark reaching a tally of 102,845 rooms at the end of 2016.
New additions to the destination portfolio include the openings of IMG Worlds of Adventure, the world’s largest indoor theme park, and Dubai Parks and Resorts, the region’s largest integrated theme park resort.
Additionally, 2016 witnessed the opening of Dubai Opera, a world-class entertainment venue, hosting some of the most internationally acclaimed performances and productions, and City Walk, the city’s trendiest new retail destination.
In addition, the 22nd edition of the recently-concluded Dubai Shopping Festival, joined by the likes of Global Village, Dubai Food Festival, the family-focused Dubai Summer Surprises and well-established business and consumer events, all serve as leading anchors to the emirate’s strong event proposition, supplemented by a plethora of other offerings.