The emirate has reported steady tourism growth for the first quarter, welcoming 4.75 million international visitors
Dubai’s tourism industry has continued its steady growth trajectory in 2019, with new data revealing the city welcomed 4.75 million international visitors in the first quarter, marking a year-on-year rise of two percent.
The rise in visitor numbers helped push the city’s average hotel occupancy rate to 84% for the quarter, with total occupied room nights reaching 8.63 million, according to the data, which was issued by Dubai's Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism).
The result was particularly significant given the rise in hotel guestroom inventory during the quarter, which was up eight percent year-on-year to 118,039.
Five-star hotels again accounted for the largest share of the market at 34% of total guestroom inventory, followed by four-star properties with 26%. In terms of year-on-year figures, four-star hotels accounted for the largest jump in inventory, up three percent overall.
India once again proved Dubai’s top tourism source market during Q1 with 564,836 visitors, followed by Saudi Arabia with 411,586 visitors and the United Kingdom with 326,586.
China continued its dominance as Dubai’s fastest-growing source market outside the GCC with 291,662 visitors, marking a year-on-year rise of 13 percent and ranking fourth overall.
Oman followed in fifth with 263,182 visitors. The Sultanate also ranked as the fastest-growing regional source market, up 27% compared to Q1, 2018.
Ranking from sixth to tenth respectively were Russia (234,142 visitors), Germany (203,651), United States (185,864), Pakistan (137,015) and France (121,189).
In terms of top five regions, Western Europe ranked first with 23% of all visitors, followed by the GCC (17%), South Asia (16%), North Asia and South-East Asia (11%), and the CIS and Eastern Europe (10% each).
Commenting on the results, Helal Saeed Almarri, director general of Dubai Tourism, said: "Tourism as a sector continues to be one of the most interconnected, and consequently highly diversified pillars of Dubai's GDP, making our economic contribution imperative for collective growth.”
Dubai, which has earmarked tourism and hospitality as key drivers in its broader economic diversification strategy, has set out a number of priority targets for both sectors over the next decade.
The emirate is aiming to attract 20 million visitors in 2020 – the year it hosts the region’s first World Expo – and 25 million visitors by 2025.
It has been investing heavily in tourism infrastructure including new hotels and attractions in a bid to meet these targets.
According to Al Marri, the majority of government-led initiatives are on track to meeting their planned deadlines.
“Our Vision 2022-25 [tourism strategy], as set out by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, is backed by several targeted strategic programmes for delivery by 2020-22, of which over 70% are well underway already,” he said.
"Our first quarter is an encouraging reflection of the success of our various ongoing initiatives and the efforts of all our industry partners - not just in our attraction of visitation through successful implementation of Dubai Tourism's planned calendar of regional and global campaigns, but also through customised itinerary programming and most importantly, in-city 'guest promise' delivery," he added.