In 2014, Dubai’s hotels welcomed over 11.6 million visitors, a 5.6 percent increase over the year before, according to recent figures released by the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM). The growth was driven by a number of developments. Tourism from nearby Saudi Arabia remained high, with other markets, including China, Iran, the UK, and the U.S., contributing significant numbers of visitors, as well. China was a particularly large factor in the growth, as 24.9 percent more Chinese tourists booked hotel stays in 2014 than in 2013.
Dubai’s tourism industry has been working to diversify the source markets of its visitors in an attempt to hedge against political and economic instability in any given region. The director general of the DTCM noted that the growth occurred in 2014 despite fewer visits by Russian tourists. One factor that contributed to the growth may have been a court ruling that citizens of 13 countries in Europe did not require a pre-entry visa to visit the United Arab Emirates.
The increase in tourism has led to corresponding growth in hotel space, with nearly 8,000 rooms and 46 new properties opening in 2014. Despite the increase in supply, revenue for the industry was up 9.8 percent overall, with room revenue rising 12 percent.