Saudi Gazette – About one million Saudi visitors toured the UAE last year, according to Saudi Ambassador to UAE Muhammad Al-Bisher.
In a statement to Oloum Al Dar Economy program of Abu Dhabi TV, he said that such visits were prompted by “social relations, common traditions and customs between the two peoples.”
“Saudi visitors feel at home in UAE as if they are visiting any other Saudi city,” said Al-Bisher.
Dubai received 14.2 million tourists in 2015, indicating a jump of 7.5 per cent from 2014, according to data released by the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) in Dubai.
Saudi Arabia was ranked first with the highest number of tourists in Dubai, followed by the United Kingdom and India.
According to DTCM figures, the United Kingdom was ranked at second place, with nearly 3 million tourists, representing a rise of 6.1 percent from 2014.
The third-largest tourist source region was South Asia, mostly from India, with 2.3 million visitors.
The Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) for 2016 shows the UAE moving up one spot to second place in terms of Muslim travel friendliness. One of the reasons for the country’s improved ranking might be the rising spending on halal tourism.
Spending on family or halal tourism in the UAE is expected to increase by 4.4 percent this year compared to the previous year, according to a study by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Dubai Chamber).
The study reveals that five countries in the Middle East — Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Iran, and Qatar – stand behind 40 percent of total Muslim expenditure on travel.