GCC visitors to Dubai surge 18.5pc


Dubai has remained the most popular Arabian Gulf destination for GCC visitors, with the year 2000 witnessing an all-time high growth of 18.53 per cent in guests from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman.

According to the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), the hotels and hotel apartments in the emirate played host to 771,032 tourists from the five GCC states last year, up from 650,475 visitors in the previous year, local media reported.

There was a 5.56 per cent growth in the number of guests from other parts of the UAE staying in Dubai. As many as 289,201 UAE nationals stayed in Dubai hotels and hotel apartments last year, up from 273,959 in the previous year.

A DTCM official said 1.423 million tourists who came to Dubai last year were Arabs, up by 16.43 per cent compared with the previous year's figure of 1.222 million.

"Dubai continues to have a magnetic pull for GCC visitors. The visits of GCC nationals are not limited to one particular period of the year, but have become a round-the-year source of business for the hospitality industry," the official said.

GCC visitors tend to stay for longer duration in the emirate during the extended summer holidays, while making short trips to Dubai during Eid and other holidays, he said.

A total of 83,402 guests also came to Dubai from other Arab countries last year, up 26.17 per cent compared with the 1999 figure of 66,101.

A DTCM-commissioned study said the third highest spenders per travel group per trip are GCC nationals with Dh14,020 ($3,819). When it comes to shopping, the GCC nationals are second on the list with Dh9,793.

GCC nationals accounted for 42 per cent of the family visitors to the Dubai.