India is Dubai’s number one source market for tourists


For the first time, India is Dubai’s number one source market for foreign tourists with over 1.6 million Indians visiting the emirate in 2015, according to new figures.

Despite a sluggish economy and a strong US dollar constraining Dubai’s competitiveness, Western Europe remained the second highest regional contributor to visitor volumes, bringing in nearly three million tourists, reflecting a solid 6.1 per cent growth in numbers, figures released by the Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing reported.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) remained the regional foothold, supporting continued demand from neighbouring markets to Dubai, consequently delivering the highest share of visitor volumes for 2015, with a total of 3.3 million, up 12.8 per cent over 2014, it said.

The UK remained within Dubai’s top three source countries with 11 per cent growth, accounting for nearly 1.2 million visitors.

South Asia was the next largest region by volume, bringing in 2.3 million visitors, reflecting a 21.7 per cent increase versus 2014, the figures reported.

India dominated the region, becoming Dubai’s number one source market for the first time with over 1.6 million tourists, the report said. The country recorded a 26 per cent year-on-year growth. Pakistan ranked just outside the top five, ending 2015 at 11 per cent growth and 513,000 visitors, it reported.

The US brought in just short of 1 million travellers, growing at a healthy 8.2 per cent due to the strong airlift and increase in point-to-point routes from both east and west coasts, with the US growing at 3 per cent to retain its position within the top five source markets for Dubai, and Canada also staying within the top 20 with a 13 per cent growth in volumes.

Efforts to communicate highly segment-specific messaging in cities with the highest connectivity and latent capacity, as well as building stronger trade ties in market with digital travel intermediaries, have yielded results and will continue to enable Dubai to capture a share of the growing Indian upper middle-class family and business segments, the figures reported.

According to Dubai Tourism, Dubai attracted over 14.2 million overnight visitors in 2015, recording a strong 7.5 percent increase over 2014 – double the United Nations World Travel Organisation’s (UNWTO) projected 3-4 per cent global travel growth for the same period.

Asian markets (excluding the Indian sub-continent) were the next largest regional contributors with a total of 1.2 million travellers to Dubai – a 17.9 per cent increase for 2015 compared to the previous year.

With 450,000 Chinese tourists to Dubai last year, inbound traffic from China dominated the uptake from this region, topping the leader board of year-on-year growth trends with a 29 per cent increase in numbers.

Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General, Dubai Tourism, said 2015 was volatile for travel globally, as witnessed disruptive factors ranging from slackening economic growth in Asian and European markets to currency fluctuations across the world.