Dubai announces record tourism arrivals in 2019

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - The United Arab Emirates earlier introduced a multiple-entry visa valid for five years for all nationalities.

Sunday 26/01/2020

A blend of modernity and tradition. Tourists take photos with camels on the beach at Jumeirah Beach Residence in Dubai. (Reuters)

LONDON - Dubai welcomed a record 16.73 million tourists in 2019, an improvement over the previous two years driven by increasing number of Chinese, Russian and Omani visitors.

The number of international visitors increased 5.1% in 2019. Dubai has set a target of 20 million tourists for 2020.

“While the global economy remains in a state of flux, we can clearly see an exciting opportunity to further grow Dubai’s dominance in the tourism industry in 2020,” said Dubai Tourism chief Saeed al-Marri, quoted by the Dubai Media Office.

Indian tourists topped arrivals with nearly 2 million visiting Dubai, a slight drop from 2018. They were followed by 1.6 million Saudis. Britons came in third with 1.2 million tourists. Visitors from Oman increased 24% to more than 1 million, putting the neighbouring country in fourth place.

The number of Chinese tourists rose 15.5% to 989,000 and Russian visitors increased 7.4% to 728,000.

The United Arab Emirates in January introduced a multiple-entry visa valid for five years for all nationalities.

Dubai has the most diversified economy in the region and forecasts record spending, with its 2020 budget increasing 17% to $18.1 billion as it seeks to boost its sagging economy.

The emirate has high hopes that the 6-month global trade fair Expo 2020, starting in October, will revive its fortunes. However, it still foresees a fourth consecutive year of deficits. The government is looking to Expo 2020 to attract 25 million visitors, most of them from abroad, and is projecting a 25% increase in revenues to $17.4 billion.

Dubai is the only government in the Gulf not dependent on hydrocarbon revenues and projects around 94% of income to come from non-oil sources.

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