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Cycling in Al Marmoom Dubai (photo: Visit Dubai)

Dubai sees record 16mn international visitors

Western Europe is Dubai’s biggest contributor of overnight visitor volumes, commanding a 21% share in 2018.

Dubai saw 15.92 million international overnight visitors in 2018 – a new high, according to the latest data from the emirate’s department of tourism.

From a regional perspective, Western Europe was the largest contributor of overnight visitor volumes for 2018, with a 21% share, keeping its pole position from 2017.

With more than two million visitors, India was Dubai’s top overseas country market, with Saudi visitors in second place with 1.6 million visitors and Britain in third.

The emirate’s hotel sector reported an 8% growth over a 12-month period versus 2017, with the total number of hotel and hotel apartment keys reaching 115,967 in 716 establishments.

Popular attractions including the Dubai Mall, the towering Burj Khalifa, Dubai Parks and Resorts, IMG Worlds of Adventure and shopping and dining spots La Mer and Al Seef drew high interest from visitors, the tourism department says.

The latest attraction openings for 2018 included the Dubai Frame, a structure with a 360-degree view of the city, and Bluewaters Island, a mixed-use destination off the coast of Jumeirah Beach Residence together with Ain Dubai, the world’s largest observation wheel.

Ecotourism focus
In 2019, Dubai will be expanding its ecotourism destinations, as the UAE’s first national park, Al Marmoom Dubai, opens as the biggest tourism project of its kind focusing on the desert environment.

The tourism department says that this also works in conjunction with “Dubai’s drive to show its natural beauty” and 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 have opened recently that give visitors “a unique perspective of the national park’s stunning vantage points and wildlife sightings”.

Another new initiative by the department of tourism is to raise Dubai’s profile as an “affordable” MICE destination.

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