Emirates is boosting its service to Jeddah to tap growing demand for travel between the UAE and Saudi Arabia’s second-largest city.
The Dubai-based carrier yesterday announced an additional four flights per week to Jeddah, starting from December 14.
Emirates currently operates three daily Airbus A380 flights to Jeddah.
Earlier this month Etihad Airways announced a third daily flight to Jeddah from Abu Dhabi, starting on December 10.
Saudi Arabia is once again one of the most important tourism source markets for the UAE, with Dubai suffering a 40 per cent fall in the number of visitors from Russia in the first half of the year, and fewer European tourists visiting the Emirates as a result of Europe’s economic slowdown.
Emirates serves four Saudi cities – Jeddah, Riyadh, Dammam and Al Madinah Al Munawwarah, comprising a total of 63 flights a week.
With additional flights to Jeddah, that will increase to 67 flights a week.
Tourist numbers from Saudi Arabia to Dubai surged 22 per cent to 1,216,000 for the first nine months of this year from the same period last year.
The Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing is targeting the kingdom as a key growth market.
Hotel room rates in Dubai have been under pressure this year because of increased room supply and hotel construction.
The emirate has the largest number of hotel rooms under construction in the Middle East and Africa, with 17,358 rooms across 68 hotels, or 10 per cent of total rooms in the region, according to STR Global.
Dubai welcomed 10.5 million visitors in the first nine months this year, up 9.6 per cent year-on-year.
About 16 million people are expected to visit Dubai next year, up from 13.2 million tourists last year.
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