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Dubai visitor numbers rose by 8.2% in 2014
Dubai attracted 13.2 million visitors in 2014, up 8.2% over the previous year, according to newly released data from the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM).
Visitor numbers increased despite the 80-day runway repairs at Dubai International Airport and a drop in demand from Russia due to the weakening of the rouble amid a fall in oil prices.
In a statement, DTCM Director-General Helal Saeed Al Merri explained “the 2014 success is especially promising considering pressures on a number of source market economies and the 80-day partial closure of Dubai International.”
DTCM attributes the growth in visitor numbers to factors including the expansion of Emirates Airline’s and flydubai’s fleet and network; the growth in Dubai’s cruise industry, helped by the opening of a third cruise terminal, and better accessibility to Dubai, driven by the addition of 13 European Union member states whose nationals can obtain a United Arab Emirates visa on arrival.
Most of the emirate’s top ten source markets, such as Saudi Arabia, India and the UK, grew around 8%, while emerging travel source countries had double-digit growth, such as China, Nigeria and Brazil and several Eastern European nations.
Dubai’s hotel room supply also grew with demand last year.
A total of 46 new hotels and hotel apartments opened, including the Marriott Hotel Al Jaddaf, Warwick Hotel Shaikh Zayed, Sheraton Grand Hotel and Four Seasons Resort Dubai.
To achieve a vision of 20 million visitors per year by 2020, announced in 2013, DTCM is widening the range of tourism offerings in Dubai. It has listed three key areas of focus.
First is to position the UAE as the world’s leading family destination.
The second focus is to promote Dubai as an event destination, with the aim of moving from the regional events hub to a global events and entertainment destination.
Third is to enhance Dubai’s status as a business destination.
The number of visitors travelling for meetings, exhibitions, conferences and events (MICE) grew by 10% last year, according to DTCM.
Al Marri concluded “in delivering the ambitious targets of our Tourism Vision for 2020, there are no doubt challenges ahead, but the continued collaboration of all stakeholders within the tourism industry and related sectors ensure we are well positioned for success.”
Image shows Dubai's Burj Khalifa.
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