Dubai attracted more than 5.5 million visitors  during the first half of the year, increasing by 11.1 per cent year-on year, according to an official statement by Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) on Wednesday.
According to Helal Saeed Al Marri, Director-General of DTCM , the rise in tourist numbers marks the first step in achieving Dubai’s Tourism Vision for 2020, announced in May this year.
“The figures for the first half of 2013 are extremely encouraging and indicate that we are on the way to achieving our Tourism Vision for 2020. Our strategy is to position Dubai  as a foremost destination for both leisure and business travellers by continuously evolving our broad and diverse tourism offering, and attracting visitors from a range of source markets, including targeting a new generation of first-time travellers from emerging markets,” Al Marri said.
One factor that has led to the increase in tourist numbers in Dubai include Emirates Airline ’s partnership with Australia’s Qantas, which has increased the amount of visitors from both Australia and other markets. Another factor is the city’s festivals and cultural events, such as Dubai Shopping Festival, Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, Dubai World Cup, and Dubai Summer Surprises.
All key indicators have shown growth during the first half of the year, including hotel and hotel apartment guests, hotel and hotel apartment revenues, room occupancy and average length of stay.
The number of guests across hotels  and hotel apartments reached 5,583,379 in the last six months, up 11.1 per cent compared to the same time last year, which registered 5,027,223 guests, according to the statement.
The first half of the year saw the same source markets as those for the same period in 2012. These include Saudi Arabia, India, UK, USA, Russia, Germany, Kuwait, Oman, China and Iran, which represented the top 10 source markets from January to June.
Saudi Arabia led the source markets in terms of growth, with visitor numbers climbing 31.6 per cent to 710,472.
Australia , the Netherlands, China and India also showed a strong growth in visitor numbers, rising by 24.3 per cent, 17 per cent, and 15.8 per cent, respectively.
“Saudi Arabia, China and India are markets which DTCM has put significant focus on, as we believe they provide substantial opportunities for growth,” Almarri said.
Meanwhile, the occupancy rate across hotel rooms  and hotel apartments experienced steady growth. Occupancy for hotel rooms reached 84.6 per cent on average from January to June, up 2.8 per cent from 81.8 per cent during the corresponding time last year.
The occupancy rate for hotel apartments stood at 85.8 per cent, an increase of 6.5 per cent from 79.3 per cent during the same time a year ago.
Meanwhile, the average length of stay across all hotels and hotel apartments was 3.89 days during the first half of the year, an increase from an average of 3.82 days during the same time a year ago.
The month of June came third, after January and March, in attracting the highest number of hotel guests. This indicates “the success of Dubai’s positioning as a summer tourism destination, particularly for travellers from across the region,” the statement read.
Additionally, revenues for hoteliers and hotel apartment operators grew by 18.6 per cent to Dh11.62 billion during the first half of the year.
Total guest nights climbed 13.1 per cent to 21,715,848 from 19,209,037 during the first half of last year.