Dubai – Dubai Tourism on Wednesday said its hospitality sector saw a 12 per cent year-on-year growth in the first two months of 2017, mostly propelled by tourists from China and Russia.
The government-controlled Dubai Tourism authority said it welcomed more than three million visitors, nearly four times the rate compared to the previous year.
Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) said China and Russia in particular increased the volumes.
Dubai Tourism has witnessed a 60 per cent growth due to overnight tourists from China, with January alone peaking at a dramatic 102 per cent, attracting a total of 157,000 Chinese visitors in just the first two months.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) had exempted Chinese travelers in November 2016 from the visa-in-advance scheme.
Since then, tourists from China who are particularly attracted to Dubai’s warm climate, its shopping malls and sightseeing spots, get a visa on arrival at Dubai International Airport and at Dubai’s second hub Al-Maktoum International Airport.
Report said Russian nationals received similar privileges in February.
It added that Russian visitors increased by 84 per cent over the same period in 2016, with February recording a massive 140 per cent volume increase bringing it to a total of 65,000 travelers in the first two months.
Consequently, both countries moved up in their rankings as key source markets for inbound tourism to Dubai with China entering the top four for the first time and Russia moving to just outside the top 10, up four places from 15.
“Ultimately, our collective aim is to make it as easy and as seamless as possible for any prospective tourist from our diversified base of source markets to visit and revisit.
“The emirate has progressively improved its “China Readiness” throughout the city across all aspects of the tourist journey,’’ Dubai Helal Almarri, Director-General of Dubai Tourism said.
Almarri had earlier in February, said the number of visitors from China to Dubai in 2016 stood at 540,000, up by 20 per cent from the previous year.