Dubai welcomed 8.36 million international overnight visitors in the first six months (January-June) of 2019, posting a positive 3% in tourism volume growth compared to the same period last year, according to the latest data released by Dubai Tourism. The new figures reinforce the continued strength of Dubai’s tourism sector as a key driver of economic diversification and a reliable catalyst for GDP acceleration through 2020.
The sustained effectiveness of Dubai Tourism’s market-specific strategies and customised annual programming are evidenced in the tangible visitation outcomes delivered across the traditional strongholds, propelled by targeted campaigns highlighting Dubai’s propositions, and tapping into the city’s dynamic appeal and growing connectivity across continents.
India once again led the pack, drawing the highest half-year volumes with 997,000 visitors – particularly noteworthy given the severe air traffic and seat capacity challenges due to geopolitical volatilities. Dubai continued to drive booking interest from Indians on a mass scale largely due to high-impact delivery of segment and season-specific campaigns across the most accessible Tier-1 and Tier-2 cities. From focused ‘family’ or ‘couple’ oriented promotions to the Bollywood megastar Shah Rukh Khan-led global #BeMyGuest campaign, Dubai Tourism’s investments yielded strong returns, with the latter alone surpassing all records, logging 160 million views in a short few weeks.
Coming in strong as Dubai’s second largest feeder market once again, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) delivered 755,000 visitors at 2% year-on-year growth over six months with a notable 4.9% increase over the Eid break alone – signifying continued stability in Dubai’s attractiveness for Saudi families and millennials.
Staying firmly within Dubai’s top three traffic drivers, the UK delivered 586,000 travellers, beating all odds against a significantly devalued British Pound (vs. US Dollar), amidst growing political and economic turbulences surrounding Brexit. Contrary to general dampening in consumer sentiment, Dubai retained high demand from couples – constituting 56% of the share – and families accounting for 20% – collectively up three percentage points from H1 2018.
With over 501,000 Chinese visitors to Dubai from January to June 2019, the stellar 11% year-on-year growth from inarguably the world’s most aggressively sought-after consumers is testament to Dubai Tourism’s successful strategies to maintain high conversion appeal for China’s outbound market. Very close on China’s heels, the second GCC stronghold – Oman – catapulted into the top five with a massive 28% growth to land 499,000 visitors to Dubai, with Russia sixth with 375,000 visitors and the USA seventh with 329,000 visitors.