DUBAI, March 4 (Xinhua) -- Dubai announced Tuesday that in 2013 the Arab emirate hosted over 11 million guests in its over 600 hotels, representing a 10.6 percent increase compared to the previous year.
The official tourism promoting body in Dubai, The Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) said that the two biggest source markets were Saudi Arabia and India with 1.33 million and 0. 88 million tourists, respectively. The number of tourists from both countries increased by 19.9 percent and by 16.3 percent, respectively.
Chinese tourists also contributed to the growing tourism sector in Dubai, with 275,675 tourists from China visiting Dubai last year, representing an annual growth rate of 11 percent, according to DTCM.
From the Western world, Britain leads with 758,657 tourists who visited Dubai.
The number of tourists from Iran declined 14.1 percent, the biggest drop in annual tourist arrivals to Dubai as 277,847 tourists from the Islamic Republic booked hotel rooms in the Gulf Arab emirate.
The hotel and apartment operator revenues in the sheikhdom rose 16.1 percent to 21.8 billion Dirham (5.94 billion U.S. dollars).
"Dubai is on track to double the 10 million tourists received in 2012 to 20 million per year by 2020," said Helal Saeed Almarri, director general of the department, adding "The development is an affirmation of the destination's ever increasing appeal."
The number of hotels grew from 599 at the end of 2012 to 611 at the end of 2013, said DTCM. In the planned Mohammed Bin Rashid City, a district named after the ruler of Dubai, a total of 100 new hotels are scheduled to be constructed.