Dubai has reported a 12 per cent year-on-year increase in visitors in the first two months of the year with just over 3 million tourists recorded.
The emirate’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marking said the growth was largely due to a significant increase in visitors from China after the UAE allowed Chinese passport holders to obtain visas on arrival last year.
The number of Chinese overnight visitors was up 102 per cent in January and 60 per cent for the two-month period to 157,000, making China Dubai’s fourth largest source market.
Similarly Dubai also saw a 140 per cent jump in Russian tourist numbers in February after travel restrictions for passport holders were lifted. Total Russians visitors for the two-month period were up 84 per cent to 65,000.
“We are delighted to see visitor numbers make a strong start in 2017. We work closely with the government on initiatives to drive increased visitation, and the decision by the leadership of the UAE to offer visas-on-arrival to our Chinese and Russian guests has already proven an astute one, as we have seen an almost instant positive effect from both countries,” said Helal Saeed Almarri, director general, Dubai Tourism.
Dubai Tourism said the number of Mandarin speaking customer service representatives for tourism activities and at hotels had been increased across the city as well as the number of outlets accepting Chinese payment systems to cater to the increasing visitors.
Dubai is targeting 20 million visitors per year by 2020 from nearly 15 million last year.