The rise and rise of Dubai

By | Category: Travel destinations

Jumeirah beach park in Dubai

We are still attracted by the attractions of Dubai which saw a 4% increase in the number of Britons travelling there in the first six months of the year.

The tourist authority says that 8.06 million people visited and stayed overnight in the same period with visitors from India being the top source of tourists and, for the first time, over a million of them stayed there in the January to June period. Overall Dubai experienced a 10.6% increase in visitors putting it about two and half times above the expected world average if this keeps up until the rest of the year.

The rise should be looked at in two ways. Firstly, Dubai is in the Middle East a part of the world that has been hit by a downturn yet Dubai (and Ras al Khaimah and Sharjah) has weathered this. Secondly, the dispute amongst some Arab countries over Qatar seems not to have dissuaded travellers.

From a British point-of-view, Dubai is much further away from the other top two countries that provide Dubai’s greatest number of tourists, India and Saudi Arabia. For us it is a seven hour flight. From eastern India such as New Delhi it is half that time and from the Saudi capital, Riyadh, it is under two hours. The 4% increase by Britons confirms our fondness for long-haul travel and a disregard for the time involved in planes.

Europe provided a fifth of all holidaymakers and travellers to Dubai with German visitors growing by 6% and, further afield, US travellers up by a similar amount. But then Dubai needs lots of visitors to fill its 676 hotels that offer 104,138 rooms.

As just about travel has said before, Dubai hopes for 20 million tourists a year in three years’ time. On this performance there will be no trouble in achieving that aim.

Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of Dubai Tourism says the interest in the emirate is due to “innovative destination promotion programmes, responsive federal policy reforms, and long-term global partnerships” as well as “amplifying the voice of the traveller.” Which I summarise as meaning that Dubai finds out what visitors want and provides it! Whatever the tourist board is doing, it is working.

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