Dubai welcomed 4.7 million overnight international tourists between January and March 2018, 2 per cent higher compared to the figure reported a year earlier.

“The first quarter of the year has yielded stable performance supporting strong growth for all adjacent sectors like hotels and airlines,” said Helal Saeed Almarri, Dubai Tourism director general. ” We expect to build on this strong base … to accelerate momentum through the summer and beyond.”

Almarri cited strategic investments, partnerships, and policy enablers that are “geared to collectively drive strong growth in 2018.”

India retained the top spot as the emirate’s largest source of visitors in the first quarter of the year, contributing 617,000 to the total, up 7 per cent year-on-year.

Saudi Arabia and the UK are the next two major sources of visitors, although the number of visitors originating from these countries declined by 1 and 8 per cent respectively during the first three months of the year compared to the previous year.

Russia, the fourth largest source of tourists, registered the most growth compared to all visiting nationalities, at 106 per cent, year-on-year.

Chinese tourists comprise the fifth largest group, accounting for 258,000 arrivals, up 12 per cent compared to the corresponding period in 2017.

Dubai Tourism cited the availability of visa-on-arrival facilities for the growth in the number of Russian and Chinese tourists.

Dubai’s tourism vision aims to attract 20 million annual visitors by 2020, the same year the World Expo will be held in the emirate.