Dubai received record 16.73 million overnight visitors in 2019 – an all-time high, growing by 5.1 per cent and surpassing growth forecast of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation by over one per cent, official data showed on Tuesday.

Dubai’s top six source markets – India, Saudi Arabia, UK, Oman, China and Russia – delivered over seven million visitors in 2019, with 9 of the top 10 countries crossing half a million visitors each for the first time. The number of visitors from India reached two million, 1.6 million from Saudi Arabia, 1.2 million from UK and over 1 million from Oman.

Poised to break the one million barrier in 2020, fifth-placed China registers 989,000 visitors to Dubai in 2019 at 15.5 per cent year-on-year growth.

“While the global economy remains in a state of flux, we can clearly see an exciting opportunity to further grow Dubai’s dominance in the tourism industry in 2020, and to pioneer the next decade for global travel, offering unique and transformative tourism experiences created and driven by our strong appetite for radical innovation and stakeholder collaboration,” said Helal Saeed Almarri, director-general, Dubai Tourism.

Tourism sector contributed 11.5 per cent to the emirate’s GDP. The World Travel & Tourism Council’s Cities Report 2019 ranked Dubai the third largest city in capturing direct international tourism spending with a total of $27.9 billion.