Dubai's tourism authority said Wednesday it received over 14.2 million tourists in 2015, a sharp 7.5-percent increase over 2014.
The increase is double the UN World Travel Organization's (UNWTO) projections of three to four percent tourism increase in 2015 for Dubai.
With 450,000 Chinese tourists visiting Dubai in 2015, inbound traffic from China dominated the uptake from this region, topping the leader board of year-on-year growth trends with a 29 percent increase, said Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, known as Dubai Tourism.
Dubai Tourism's Director General Helal Saeed Almarri said the latest figures "firmly position us as the fourth most visited city in the world. 2015 was a volatile year for worldwide travel, as it underwent a variety of disruptive factors, ranging from slow economic growth in Asia and Europe to global currency fluctuations."
In December 2015, Dubai's state-owned carrier, Emirates Airline, said it would launch two new flights from Dubai to Yinchuan in northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region starting in May 2016, and to Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province.
Emirates Airline already flies daily to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong catering to China's growing travel demands.
Asian markets were the next largest regional contributors, with a total of 1.2 million tourists to Dubai, a 17.9-percent increase in 2015 compared with 2014.
Almarri said "If Dubai is to reach its 20 million annual visitors target in the next five years, we must deliver a consistent seven to eight percent growth annually, putting greater emphasis on strong sector-wide collaboration."
As for Expo 2020, which the Emirate will host in five years thus becoming the first Arab state to do so, the government aims to attract around 25 million visitors.
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries remain the regional niche, supporting continuous demand in 2015 from markets close to Dubai, consequently delivering the highest visitor volume share in 2015, which stands at a total of 3.3 million, up 12.8 percent from 2014.
Growth from China and the GCC naturally offset negative trends elsewhere.
Consolidated Russia, CIS and Eastern Europe recorded a 22.5-percent decline in passengers due to Russia's economic plunge along with the slump in oil prices and the sharp devaluation of the Ruble currency.
Tourists from Australasia however, dropped to 6.3 percent year-on-year to the year-round sunny Gulf Arab Emirate.