Dubai's hotels welcomed more than 5.8 million tourists in the first half of 2014 - the highest number of visitors ever achieved in the first six months of the year. The statistics, released this week by Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), show increases across key indicators including hotel establishment guests, hotel and hotel apartment room revenues, F&B revenue and average length of stay.

His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, Director-General of DTCM commented: "Our strategy continues to be positioning Dubai as the must-experience family destination: as such we are constantly diversifying our tourism offering and increasing our hotel portfolio to attract, and cater to, a broader market of visitors. The figures for the first half of 2014 are encouraging and we continue to build on this growth to ensure a successful second half of the year.

“The figures show an increase in visitors from many of our key source markets - for example, we are seeing strong growth from China, Brazil, Australia, and many countries in Europe. The increase comes despite the reduction in flights due to the refurbishment and upgrading of the runways at Dubai International, which is testament to the work conducted by Dubai Airports and our industry partners in ensuring minimal disruption."

The top 10 markets showed some slight changes in positioning and continue to show the diversity of visitors travelling to Dubai. Saudi Arabia, India, UK, USA, Russia, China, Iran, Oman, Kuwait and Germany made up the top ten for January to June 2014.

Saudi Arabia continued to be Dubai's primary source market and guests from the world's two most populous nations, China (ranked 6th) and India (ranked 2nd), continued to show growth. China in particular saw a substantial increase of 26 percent, attributable both to the increasing propensity of Chinese residents to travel overseas and the targeted campaigns of DTCM and its partners within Dubai's tourism industry to leverage this to the emirate's advantage.

In the first half of the year Dubai hosted events including the Dubai Shopping Festival, Emirates Airline Festival of Literature and the Dubai World Cup, which have all contributed towards the growth in visitor numbers. Dubai's status as the region's leading Meetings Incentives Conferences and Events (MICE) hub has also played a central role in boosting first half visitor numbers, with the visit of more than 14,500 Chinese delegates for one incentive trip in April demonstrating the value of this sector. Major business events held during the first six months of 2014 included Gulfood, Arabian Travel Market, and Intersec.

Looking forward to the second half of 2014, the events calendar is even busier with plenty of events scheduled including Dubai Summer Surprises and Modhesh World which is currently taking place through to September; Disney on Ice; GITEX Shopper; DP World Tour Championship; Eid in Dubai; the Rugby 7's and Dubai International Film Festival, and much more which will contribute to attracting visitors in the second half of the year.