A recently published Dubai Tourism performance report has highlighted that tourist numbers continue to rise in Dubai. This is in contrast to the regional trend, where there has been a significant decline in tourism. Approximately 7.27 million international guests visited Dubai in the first six months of 2016, a small increase on the same period in 2015.

Various researchers and media sources have argued that aviation is playing the most important role in the continued growth of tourism in Dubai. And it’s not just Dubai International Airport. Seaplanes and new forms of aerial tourism are proving play their own important roles in boosting Dubai tourism.

Dubai is the World’s Fourth Most Visited City

Dubai Tourism reports that 14.26 million visitors came to Dubai in 2015, making the city the fourth most visited on the planet, behind London (18.82m), Paris (18.24m), and Bangkok (16.06). Istanbul lies in fifth but has reported a huge drop in tourism over the last six months. Tourists in Dubai are expected to top 20 million by 2020 and Dubai comfortably has the world’s highest visitor per resident ratio. There’s been a 5% increase in hotel rooms with 99,618 to be found in the city, although the average cost per night has dropped to AED 539 (approx. $147).

Aviation Increases Tourism in Dubai

Researchers from Oxford Economics calculated that the aviation sector is equivalent to 26.7% of Dubai’s GDP, a figure projected to rise to 37.5% by 2020. Part of this figure is due to Dubai International Airport and its continued growth. But Oxford Economics also stated that the aviation industry brings approximately $10.2 billion in tourism benefits.

It’s not just the Airbus 380s landing at Dubai International that increases tourism in Dubai. Various media sources have reported on how seaplanes are enhancing accessibility and offering a new attraction for visiting tourists. For example, seaplanes are enabling Dubai tourists to easily visit other Emirates like Sharjah. Then there’s the recently launched Seawings seaplane service that has improved accessibility between Dubai and Oman in 2016. Dubai Tourism reported that there’s been a 23% increase in Omani visitors to Dubai in the six months since the service started.

Seaplanes Increases Business Tourism in Dubai

Dubai Tourism are committed to a vision of 20 million tourists by 2020 and the latest figures illustrate how the city remains firmly on course to achieve this goal. Gulf News have reported on how leisure attractions – like seaplane tours – have increased tourist numbers.

More recently, the business world has recognised how seaplanes provide a VIP angle for entertaining and impressing groups. For example, New European Economy suggested a seaplane tour followed by afternoon tea at the Burj Al Arab while Business Destinations used the seaplane to highlight how Dubai is a destination of luxury and glamour.

Seaplane Expansion to Meet Increased Demand

Tourism in Dubai is growing, hotel capacity is increasing, and Jet Ops continues to support its partners in developing seaplane tourism across the region. It all contributes towards Dubai Tourism’s 2020 goal.

Jet Ops operates seaplane services on behalf of Seawings and has been operating in Dubai since 1994.