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Dubai's grand plan to convert tourists into residents has worked, at least on the Russians. Russia travel into Dubai is slowing down for the first time in months.

After a six-month streak as Dubai’s second-largest tourism market, inbound travel from Russia is now slowing down. Since the start of the Russia-Ukraine war, Russians have been coming in droves to havens such as Dubai or the Maldives. A year on, many of those tourists have become residents in the emirate.

Russia has slipped to fourth in Dubai’s tourism source market leaderboard, now overtaken by Saudi Arabia and the UK. Around 731,000 Russian travelers have visited Dubai up to August this year, which is as far as the government data goes at the time of writing. Almost 785,000 tourists came from Saudi and 734,000 came from the UK.

For Dubai, this is still an 85% increase in Russian tourists compared to the same point last year. What is happening now is that these tourists are settling in Dubai.

The flood of Russian money into the city’s housing market is so much so that developers are rushing to build additional housing to satisfy Russian tastes. Local publications such as Arabian Gulf Business Insight (AGBI) have dubbed these the city’s “Little Moscow communities.”

Dubai real estate major Betterhomes in July reported that, in the second quarter of this year, Russians were number three in the list of largest buyers in Dubai by nationality, behind Indians and Brits.

Russians Living in Dubai

Earlier in the year, Dubai Tourism announced its new plan to convert tourists into residents.

Speaking at DET’s latest City Briefing, held at Dubai World Trade Centre on June 15, Dubai Tourism CEO Issam Kazim said, “Today we have two new KPIs. We want to make sure Dubai continues to be one of the best cities to work in, and more importantly, one of the best cities in the world to live in.”

Around a quarter of all Dubai tourists return within a year. Kazim said convincing those people to make Dubai a permanent home is key.

He added, “Once you bring them in, you’d hope they spend more money next time and stay for longer. Eventually, they would consider living in Dubai, and we have all the visas to facilitate that. We’d like them to work here, live here and retire here.

“It’s all about closing the loop,” Kazim said.


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Tags: Dubai Tourism, Tourism news, travel news

Photo credit: The Dubai skyline. The emirate is converting tourists into residents. Timo Volz / Unsplash

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