Dubai has been ranked third in the list of most popular destinations for travel in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region during the first quarter of 2018, according to travel website Expedia.
London was rated as the top city on list, followed by Paris and Dubai. The UAE city beat the likes of Rome, Amsterdam, Barcelona and Istanbul to take the third spot.
According to the data from Expedia, international demand for travel into Dubai remained strong during the first quarter.
American travellers topped the list for inbound travel, up almost 90 per cent compared to the same period last year, followed by travellers from the UK, who showed a year on year growth of almost 45 per cent.
The data also indicated that package demand was increasingly popular for travel to the emirate, with inbound travel showing a growth of almost 40 per cent compared to last year.
Dubai received 2 per cent more tourists in the first quarter of the year than the same period in 2017, according to the emirate’s tourism department.
Overnight visitors increased to 4.7 million in the first three months of the year, led by a 7 per cent increase in travellers from Dubai’s biggest market India (617,000) and a 106 per cent increase in Russian travellers to 259,000.
Read more: Dubai receives 2% more tourists in Q1 2018
The Expedia report attributed Dubai’s high ranking to its status as one of the world’s top shopping destinations. The emirate has more than 60 shopping centres and major international brands, and the second-highest density of shopping malls in the world.
It also has a booming amusement and entertainment industry with options ranging from skiing to sand dune bashing.
Paula de Keijzer, senior director at Expedia Group said: “Dubai’s location is just one of the many factors that make it a global hub for travel and tourism. We have seen a steady growth in the number of international visitors to the region and this number is likely to keep increasing as the economy grows, especially with the availability of flights and hotels, and the increase in number of tourist attractions in Dubai.
“For hoteliers, this presents an opportunity to capitalise on this increased demand for travel into the emirate by looking into the travellers origin of country and catering specifically to their needs. For example, tailoring experiences based on language, or offering unique experiences that they might not get anywhere else.”
Hotel supply in Dubai stood at 108,807 rooms across 689 properties by the end of the first quarter, increasing 4 per cent and 1 per cent respectively, according to Dubai Tourism.
Occupied rooms nights during Q1 totalled 8.27 million compared to 7.96 million the previous year and occupancy stood at 87 per cent.
Dubai is aiming to attract 20 million tourists annually by 2020 from 15.79 million last year.
To boost tourism it has recently announced plans to introduce a fixed-price tourist pass for attractions like the world’s tallest building the Burj Khalifa and theme parks.