Dubai welcomed 8.36 million international overnight visitors in the first six months (January-June) of 2019, posting a positive three per cent in tourism volume growth compared to the same period last year, according to the latest data released by Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism). The new figures reinforce the continued strength of Dubai’s tourism sector as a key driver of economic diversification and a reliable catalyst for GDP acceleration through 2020. The largest traffic generators as well as newer high-potential segments have set a strong preparatory pace to fuel Dubai’s climb to becoming the most visited global destination.
His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General, Dubai Tourism commented: “Tourism is one of the cornerstones of Dubai’s diversified economic growth, and we measure success based on our ability to aggressively advance towards our goal to be the number one most visited and most preferred city as envisioned by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The consequent rise in value creation opportunities, and more inclusive sector participation are core priorities, as we equally strive to sustainably grow GDP contribution. Our first half results are a particularly encouraging reflection of our progress towards this ambition and underline the effectiveness of our diversified market outreach with holistic ‘awareness to booking’ cycle content amplification and audience delivery, through a deeply networked ecosystem of global partners, industry stakeholders and government enablers.”
The sustained effectiveness of the Department’s market-specific strategies and customised annual programming are evidenced in the tangible visitation outcomes delivered across the traditional strongholds, propelled by targeted campaigns highlighting Dubai’s propositions, and tapping into the city’s dynamic appeal and growing connectivity across continents.
India once again led the pack, drawing the highest half year volumes with 997,000 visitors – particularly noteworthy given the severe air traffic and seat capacity challenges due to geopolitical volatilities. Dubai continued to drive booking interest from Indians on a mass scale largely due to high-impact delivery of segment and season-specific campaigns across the most accessible Tier-1 and Tier-2 cities. From focused ‘family’ or ‘couple’ oriented promotions to the Bollywood megastar Shah Rukh Khan-led global #BeMyGuest campaign, the Department’s investments yielded strong returns, with the latter alone surpassing all records, logging 160 million views in a short few weeks. Additionally, at an audience penetration level, travel share of Indian families with children rose by a substantial 10 percentage points from 24 to 34 percent, directly reflecting higher GDP impact due to party size and spend potential. With more than 30 in-market trade partnerships initiated in the first half of 2019 alone, Dubai Tourism’s confidence in, and commitment to, India is further emphasised by strategic annual collaborations launched with the biggest names in the travel ecosystem – such as Thomas Cook, Cox & Kings and SOTC, as well as OTAs like MakeMyTrip and Goibibo.
H.E. Almarri added: “Designed to counter unforeseen macro-economic variables faced by the global travel ecosystem and mitigate impediments associated with over-reliance on any one market or region, we have been long-standing proponents of a globally diversified market strategy – which continues to support our resilience as a sector. Our agile and customised strategic programmes also continued to deliver novel and market-centric solutions to strike a fine balance in fuelling more traffic from our traditional strongholds and unlocking the immense potential that exists in the emerging markets.”
H.E. Almarri concluded: “Remaining relevant and constantly top-of-mind to global audiences in today’s reality of overly saturated and omni-present communications is one of the main challenges we face across all sectors. Our approach to create a unique positioning and raise Dubai’s consideration among global travellers is to regularly showcase the dynamic evolution of our city proposition and the versatility of our portfolio that delivers truly customisable experiences for each and every visitor. Such a strategy would not be successful without multi-level partnerships between the public and private sector, and our cross-sector efforts are especially evident in the festivals and events spheres where our constructive and cooperative relationships with stakeholders have helped create truly memorable experiences for visitors. Stakeholder engagement is crucial to generating tourism growth and we are confident that it is this collective vision that will carry Dubai’s tourism industry into the future and ensure that it remains a ‘must visit’ destination.”