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UAE: Saudi tourists declined by 20% in 2019

Burj Khalifa, the tallest tower in the world, in downtown Dubai, on 29 March 2018 [AFP PHOTO / GIUSEPPE CACACE / Getty]
Burj Khalifa, the tallest tower in the world, in downtown Dubai, UAE, on 29 March 2018 [AFP PHOTO / GIUSEPPE CACACE / Getty]

Saudi tourists visiting the United Arab Emirates (UAE)’s Dubai in 2019 have decreased by 20 per cent, compared with a total of two million Saudi visitors in 2018, Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, known as Visit Dubai, announced yesterday.

“The number of Saudi tourists who visited Dubai during 2019 amounted to around 1.6 million visitors,” Visit Dubai revealed, adding that Saudi visitors had accounted for 9.6 per cent of the total number of visitors. It pointed out that a total of 16.73 million tourists had visited Dubai in 2019.

The data did not include the kingdom’s residents, who have the luxury of visiting Dubai through “easy procedures and electronic visas”, according to the government department.

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Dubai’s tourism industry – one of the emirate’s main economic pillars – has been stagnant since 2017. Last year, the US global hotel data provider, STR, disclosed that Dubai’s hotel occupancy had reached its lowest since 2009, during the second quarter of 2019. It added that the average daily rates and revenue available per room “fell to 2003 levels”.

Bloomberg reported in July that the Dubai-based real estate developers and banks were: “Reducing staff as the emirate grapples with regional geopolitical tensions, relatively low oil prices and an ongoing real estate and retail slump.” The local government has been introducing measures to stimulate the emirate’s economy, including lowering certain business fees and issuing longer-term visas.

Dubai’s Al Maktoum International Airport is one of the world’s largest airports, with an annual capacity of more than 250 million passengers.

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