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22/03/2017 - 14:58hs

Tourism in Dubai up 12% in first two months of the year

The growth was driven by an increase in Chinese and Russian visitors due to the new visa policies put in place by the United Arab Emirates for those countries.

São Paulo – Dubai’s tourism industry saw 12% growth in the first two months of the year from the year-ago period, driven by an increase in visitors from Russia and China. Citing data from Dubai Tourism, an arm of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, Emirates New Agency (WAM) reported that the emirate welcomed close to 3 million tourists in January and February.

Although tourist numbers went up across the board, Chinese and Russian visitors were the highlights, with 60% and 84% increases in overnight stays.

WAM said Chinese tourists spent 157,000 nights in Dubai in January and February. In January alone, the number of tourists from China was up 102%. Russians spent 65,000 overnight stays, with a 140% increase in February.

Dubai Tourism director general Helal Saeed Almarri said the agency’s efforts to increase visitor numbers is proving fruitful. He also said the UAE’s move of offering visas on arrival to tourists from China and Russia proved smart, since numbers grew almost instantly.

Visas on arrival were made available to Chinese travellers in November 2016. In January, it was Russia’s turn.

Last week, Brazil and the UAE entered into a visa waiver agreement. This should lead to increase flows between the countries, but only once the deal has been met with approval on both sides.

Almarri also asserted that although the performance was laudable, the global scenario does pose macroeconomic and geopolitical challenges. “Nonetheless, we remain confident in the strength of Dubai’s appeal as a tier 1 travel destination and will continue to mitigate risks by pursuing a diversified source market strategy as we work towards our target of welcoming 20 million visitors per year by 2020,” he said.

*Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum

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