A record-breaking number of international tourists have visited the United Arab Emirates in 2017, making Dubai the fourth most visited city in the world. 15.79 million tourists visited the country last year, which is 6.2 percent more than in 2016, when the country welcomed 14.9 million visitors.

The latest data published by the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism), show that Dubai is getting closer to its 2020 tourism target, which is to welcome 20 million tourists within a year, as last year’s growth rate has exceeded the 5 per cent achieved in 2016.

Many factors have affected the tourism in the UAE to grow. Among other the Dubai Tourism’s ongoing collaboration with Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan in the multi-awarded #BeMyGuest campaign which potrays Khan’s journey across a series of short films that see him taking visitors to Dubai.

On the other hand, the newly minted visa-on-arrival status for both Russian and Chinese tourists, has affected the number of visitors from both countries. The facilitation of visa norms has caused the number of visitors from China to increase for 41 percent and the number of Russian tourists for 121 percent.

Dubai offers a lot of tourist attractions for travelers from around the world and not only popular landmarks like the Burj Khalifa. Last year alone the country has invested in a number of developments in order to further broad Dubai’s appeal to a wide spectrum of visitors. City’s newest beachfront district La Mer, the Etihad Museum and La Perle in Habtoor City have all been inaugurated last year and are expected to boost the number of visitors this year even more.

Top 10 countries visiting Dubai in 2017

The top ten countries with most tourists coming from, were as follows:

  1. India topped the list, with two million annual visitors to the UAE, keeping its place for another year running. 15 percent more people from India visited the country this year, than in 2016.
  2. Saudi Arabia was again in the second place contributing a total of 1.53 million tourists in 2017. Despite an overall 7 decrease of visitors, it remained the highest driver of traffic volumes from within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
  3. The United Kingdom delivered 1.27 million travelers, 2 percent more in comparison to 2016, despite of Brexit.
  4. 682 thousand of this year’s visitors were from Oman.
  5. China saw 764 thousand of its nationals visiting the UAE, 41 percent more than the previous year, which was a lot affected by the new visa facilitation which allows citizens to obtain a visa-on-arrival.
  6. 633 thousand of this year’s visitors were from the United States of America.
  7. Pakistan saw little increase with 598 thousand of its residents visiting the UA.
  8. Russia delivered 530 thousand visitors, scoring the highest increase of visitors with 121 percent more than in 2016. Just as in the case of China, the increase was affected by the new policy of visa-on-arrival.
  9. 506 thousand of this year’s visitors were from Germany.
  10. And 503 thousand of this year’s visitors were from Iran.
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