Dubai tourism grows marginally in 2018, China tourists up 12%-data

Tourists take photos of a mosque across the Dubai Marina. (Reuters pic)

DUBAI: Gulf tourism hub Dubai had 15.92 million overnight tourist visitors in 2018, up 0.8% from 2017, official data showed on Sunday, with tourist numbers from China rose 12%.

The number of visitors from Nigeria soared 36%.

Dubai, one of seven emirates which make up the United Arab Emirates, has spent billions of dollars trying to attract foreign tourists. It is home of the world’s tallest skyscraper the Burj Khalifa.

India remained Dubai’s top overseas market in 2018, with more than 2 million visitors – similar to 2017. In second place were Saudi visitors 1.6 million visitors largely helped by specialised city-wide campaigns for the kingdom’s national day.

Britain came in third, while China ranked fourth, but recorded a 12% year on year growth to 875,000 visitors. Nigeria posted a 36% rise in visitors to 185,000.

China overtook Oman, which along with Pakistan posted a decline in the number of tourists visiting Dubai last year, the statement said.

The UAE relaxed visa rules for Chinese in recent years in a bid to boost tourism.