Tourists using Big Bus at Dubai Creek. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai:  A record number of tourists, close to 12 million, visited Dubai during the first nine months of 2017, attracted by the emirate’s landmarks, such as the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Fountain, and numerous other lifestyle offerings.

Between January and September this year, a total of 11.58 million international overnight visitors visited Dubai, reflecting a 7.5 per cent increase over the same period last year, according to Dubai’s Department of Tourism and commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism).

India remained the biggest feeder of tourist traffic, accounting for 1,478,000 travellers and showing a 20 per cent rise over a year ago. Tourists from the Asian country were apparently attracted by the promotional activities held in Dubai, including the influencer-led collaborations with Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan.

Dubai has recently bagged a number of accolades during the World Travel Awards held this month, which seeks to honour and reward excellence in the tourism industry. The emirate was named the Middle East’s leading destination of the year, while a number of its landmarks, including the Burj Khalifa and Burj Al Arab  were declared the region’s leading tourist attraction and leading all-suite hotel for 2017, respectively.

The other two biggest sources of visitors for Dubai are Saudi Arabia and United Kingdom, which sent 1.25 million Saudis and 905,000 Brits between January and September 2017.

3 biggest sources of tourists for Dubai:

IndiaNumber of tourists: 1,478,000, up 20 per cent from a year earlier

Saudi ArabiaNumber of tourists: 1,250,000

United Kingdom
Number of tourists: 905,000

However, there is a slight decline in visitor arrivals from Saudi Arabia, which is due mainly to the “ongoing economic challenges facing the country." The number of visitors from the UK went up by 2 per cent despite the continued Brexit instability.

Chinese visitors represent the fourth-biggest contingent, registering a 49 per cent year-on-year growth in tourist numbers.

Dubai Tourism also pointed out that all the top ten markets for Dubai’s tourism, with the exception of Oman and Kuwait, which saw declines of 23 and 3 per cent, respectively, sent more visitors this year compared to last year.

The number of American tourists went up by 6 per cent, making the United States, the sixth-biggest contributor of visitor traffic.

Pakistan, ranked in the seventh position, registered a 4 per cent increase in tourists, while Iran and Germany, occupying the eighth and ninth positions, respectively, registered an increase of 16 per cent and 6 per cent, respectively.

But the source market that posted the biggest increase in tourists during the same period is Russia, up by 95 per cent. This is obviously due to the recent introduction of UAE visa-on-arrival for Russian citizens.

The Philippines, which emerged as the 11th biggest source of tourists, as well as France (in the 15th), Jordan (17th) and Lebanon (19th) also posted double-digit year-on-year increases of 10, 12, 18 and 15 per cent, respectively.