Welcoming 15.92 million international overnight visitors in 2018, marking a new high according to the latest data released by Dubai’s Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism), Dubai continues to expand its appeal as a global destination of choice.
Dubai’s top source markets delivered bankable performances with several strategic feeders witnessing standout double-digit growth yet again to continue momentum towards growing the number of international visitors annually in line with Dubai’s Tourism Vision 2022-2025.
His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General, Dubai Tourism commented: “The Department remains focused on ensuring that Dubai becomes the number one most visited city in the world, in line with Dubai’s Tourism Strategy 2022-25. As such, throughout 2018, we developed and deployed a custom-market specific approach to our global outreach programmes to deeper penetrate our target markets and widen the sphere of influence and engagement with the Dubai proposition. Exposing our industry to new potential in order to convert a higher share of the dynamically evolving global outbound travel market has helped steady Dubai’s base tourism volumes throughout last year. Our strategic investments, innovative destination promotion programmes, responsive federal policy reforms, and long-term global partnerships – all backed by the tremendous support of our stakeholders across the government and private sector – continue to yield strong results as we ramp up efforts to increase Dubai’s accessibility, visibility and overall appeal, minimise barriers to travel, deliver new standards in global travel experiences, and ultimately drive both first-time and repeat visitation.”
Dubai has continued to deliver an expanding variety of experiential offerings that serve as important levers in driving GDP contribution across the leisure segment. Popular attractions and entertainment destinations, including Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa, Dubai Parks and Resorts, IMG Worlds of Adventure, La Mer, and Al Seef drew high interest from visitors, as the city continues to invest in an evolution and innovation with a roster pipeline of mega-developments, leisure attractions, and retail destinations, all set to aid success in a highly competitive global travel ecosystem.
The latest in destination offerings for 2018 included the Dubai Frame, a one-of-a-kind structure with a 360-degree view of the city, showing the past and present through views of both old and new Dubai. 2018 also saw the opening of the Bluewaters Island, a mixed-use destination located off the coast of Jumeirah Beach Residence, with Ain Dubai – the world’s largest observation wheel – set to be the centrepiece of the island’s various retail, residential, hospitality, and entertainment zones.
In line with preserving and building awareness of Dubai’s ecotourism destinations, the emirate will soon be opening its doors to the UAE’s first national park, Al Marmoum, the largest tourism project of its kind in the region, which focuses on the desert environment. This also works in conjunction with Dubai’s drive to showcase the emirate’s natural beauty and its lesser-known areas in the enclaves of Hatta. Rapidly becoming a hotspot for mountain bikers, adventure-seekers, and nature-lovers, a range of new developments and attractions offer visitors a unique perspective of the national park’s stunning vantage points and wildlife sightings. Over the years, there has also been an enhanced focus on highlighting the emirate’s cultural offering, with destinations such as Al Seef, which brings together the city’s proud past and bright future, as well as smart initiatives like the ‘Al Fahidi Architecture Audio Tour’ that introduces visitors to the rich history and heritage of Dubai’s popular Al Fahidi District.
His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri concluded: “As we work towards future-proofing Dubai’s tourism-linked economy by fostering exceptional visitor experiences, we are committed to further empowering our public and private sectors to develop strategic programmes that can truly adapt to dynamic traveller needs. An integral component of the city’s success, therefore, has been the ongoing commitment to collaborate across the entirety of Dubai’s tourism ecosystem and foster robust partnerships with government and private stakeholders, including supporting the homegrown entrepreneur ecosystem. We are committed to providing the necessary infrastructure and global distribution channels to all our partners, equipping both large and small industry players with the outreach and access to our global networks.”