Mumbai–Dubai’s Tourism on Saturday said 1.8 million Indian tourists visited Dubai in 2016, reflecting a 12 per cent growth over 2015.

Overall, Dubai attracted 14.9 million overnight visitors in 2016, recording a five per cent increase over 2015.

“Overall the South Asian markets across the Indian sub-continent continued to deliver impressive volumes of both first time and repeat traffic demonstrating the ability of Dubai to retain its appeal through a diverse range of evolving destination offerings,” an official statement said.

The statement added that expectations on tourism growth from India remain high for 2017 with even stronger bilateral ties being forged between the UAE and India, highlighted by the recent presence of Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan as the chief guest at India’s 68th Republic Day celebrations.

“The global performance trajectory which reflects twice the global travel industry growth of circa four per cent over the same period as forecasted by the United Nations World Travel Organisation (UNWTO), cements the foundation for Dubai Tourism to maintain stable momentum over the next three years and attain its 2020 goals,” it said.

“The strong performance of the emirate’s tourism industry amidst a particularly turbulent year across the world assures progress towards not only the annual target of 20 million visitors by 2020, but also the increased sector-driven economic contribution to Dubai’s GDP,” it said.

“The effectiveness of our three-pronged approach is evidenced by the encouraging thirteen per cent growth in volumes from South Asia led by India, despite the demonetisation and cash pressures facing the market,” Director General of Dubai Tourism Helal Saeed Almarri said.