Dubai has been ranked fourth most visited city in the world for the fifth year in a row in Mastercard’s Global Destination Cities Index 2019. WAM
A surge in arrivals over the summer months accelerated Dubai’s tourism momentum, as the city welcomed 12.08 million international overnight visitors in the first nine months of 2019, according to the latest visitation figures released by Dubai’s Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism).
The strong 4.3 per cent increase in volume growth compared to the same period last year was supported by highly participatory contributions from both traditional and emerging markets, that has continued to capture strong shares of the tourist wallet, further stimulating Dubai’s GDP impact, and the city’s remarkable consistency in transforming itself to respond to global competition.
The positive performance, which drew over 1.23 million visitors to the city in September, an above market average increase of 7.3 per cent over the same month in 2018, coincided with Dubai being ranked the fourth most visited city in the world for the fifth year in a row in Mastercard’s Global Destination Cities Index 2019, a clear indication that Dubai is continuously renewing its attractiveness to remain a leading global destination.
Dubai Tourism’s multi-dimensional market-specific strategies and customised campaigns continued to yield tangible results particularly showcasing the city’s ability to reinvent itself and remain ‘top-of mind’ to both new and repeat audiences across regular strongholds - India, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom and Oman. Together with China that remained the world’s largest tourism volume driver, these five leading feeder countries surpassed the five million threshold for the first nine months of 2019.
India retained its position as Dubai’s leading source market, with over 1.39 million visitors during the first nine months of 2019, reaffirming the effectiveness of various innovative promotional activities launched by Dubai Tourism, including the continued success of its multi-award-winning collaboration with Bollywood icon Shah Rukh Khan, campaigns across digital and broadcast platforms, as well as capitalising on a federal government decision to exempt children under 18 from visa fees during the summer months. This reaped dividends as evidenced in the increase in travel share of Indian families with children by a substantial 13 percentage points from 32 to 45 per cent during the nine month period in 2019 over the same period last year. Saudi Arabia registered a two per cent year-on-year growth for over 1.25 million visitors, largely driven by the KSA National Day holiday on 23 September, which saw Saudi arrivals registering a massive 36% growth compared to the same holiday period in 2018.
UK remained Dubai’s third largest source market with 851,000 visitors, largely due to the intense ‘Always On’ series of in-market activities. Dubai retained high demand from families with children, one of the focus segments of the tourism strategy in the UK, accounting for 25 per cent of the share during the first nine months of 2019, up by five percentage points compared to the same period in 2018. Oman stayed the course as one of the key drivers within the top performing markets, delivering 778,000 visitors for a 28 per cent increase year-on-year, making it the fourth highest traffic generator.
Maintaining consistency, China, one of the fastest-growing source markets, further increased tourism volumes, taking fifth spot with an impressive 14 per cent increase that saw 729,000 Chinese tourists being welcomed in the first nine months of 2019. It is a reflection of Dubai’s successful 4-pronged approach.
The United States, which saw a one per cent increase, and Russia, maintained their sixth and seventh positions with 481,000 and 433,000 visitors respectively in the first nine months of the year. Steadily building on the quest to become the #1 family destination for global travellers, Dubai prioritised this segment effectively in Russia as well to see a four point increase to 34 per cent in the first nine months of 2019. Within the top 10 source markets, Germany and Pakistan also retained their eighth and ninth positions with 392,000 and 378,000 visitors respectively while Philippines, one of the fastest-growing feeder markets, staged an impressive comeback to the top 10 with a 29 per cent increase delivering 352,000 visitors. The GCC further consolidated its regional foothold by increasing its share of visitor volumes to 20 per cent to match the 20 per cent in volumes from Western Europe, as they secured the joint leadership position from a regional perspective. France, which climbed two places with a 10 per cent increase and Italy with a four per cent increase boosted visitor numbers from the Western Europe region, to support UK and German volumes. South Asia was the next highest regional contributor to visitor volumes with 16 per cent, followed by a 12 per cent contribution from North Asia and South East Asia dominated by China.
Markets across the Mena region maintained a volume of 10 per cent, with Egypt climbing one place to No. 13 with a nine per cent increase in visitors. Russia, CIS and the Eastern Europe region contributed eight per cent of the volume base. The Americas and Africa, each with a six per cent contribution to the regional share. Australasia rounded off the regional mix with two per cent of the market share.
Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General, Dubai Tourism, said: “With Dubai cementing its ranking as the fourth most visited city in the world, the positive growth achieved in the first three quarters this year is exemplary of the unfailing support and confidence of our leadership - His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in our collective ability with our partners and stakeholders, to steadily accelerate towards making Dubai the #1 most visited, preferred and revisited global destination.”