Dubai has always been one of the most visited places in the Middle East, but it broke all records in quarter 1 of 2018. The emirate welcomed 4.7 million international visitors in the first quarter, a two percent increase than the same period in the last year. Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) hopes to keep up with their performance and see the steady increase every passing year. Helal Saeed Almarri, general director, Dubai Tourism, said that 2018’s first quarter yielded a stable performance and supported strong growth in its adjacent sectors including airlines and hotels. Dubai welcomed 617,000 visitors from India, whereas saw a 106 percent growth in Russian travelers, totaling at 259,000. The increase comes after Dubai granted visa-on-arrival status to Russian passport holders in 2017. As usual, China showed an increase of 12 percent as around 258,000 Chinese passport holders visited Dubai during the first quarter. Increase in visitors from Europe was a surprising factor as more than 194,000 German visitors, 103,000 French, and 80,000 Italians visited Dubai during the same period. Sweden was one of Dubai’s top 20 source markets with a visitor count of 42,000. Dubai Tourism said that from a regional perspective, Western Europe topped the source market, followed by Gulf countries, and South Asia. The spokesperson said that the government agency hopes to see a greater increase in 2019 quarter 1 as Dubai plans to open even more leisure destinations at the end of 2018. Dubai Tourism Vision target Almarri said that as they move forward and receive more support from the UAE government, private and public sector partners, achieving the Tourism Vision target of 20 million annual international visitors by 2020 seems possible. Dubai Tourism revealed that average occupancy rate across service apartments and hotel rooms stands at 87 percent.

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