The strong performance of the emirate's tourism industry amidst a particularly turbulent year across the world assures progress towards not only the annual target of 20 million visitors by 2020, but also the increased sector-driven economic contribution to Dubai's GDP. In what is an assertive reinforcement of the tourism sector's resilience and competitiveness, Dubai has continued to grow its share of outbound travel market despite three of its largest source markets witnessing unique disruptions, coupled with debilitating international factors and a cautious global consumer sentiment that characterized 2016. Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General, Dubai Tourism, said: "Our growth through a period of unforeseen macro-economic upheavals particularly across our feeder markets, validates the ability of Dubai's tourism sector to adapt and respond with agility in all our markets; effectively diversify investments and deploy strategies to minimize single-market exposure; and dynamically converge as an industry across government, private and public sector to grow our destination appeal and competitiveness. "The effectiveness of our three-pronged approach is evidenced by the encouraging 13% growth in volumes from South Asia led by India, despite the demonetization and cash pressures facing the market. Similarly, KSA remained the dominant market within the GCC, bringing first time and significant repeat travelers to Dubai. Another case in point is our tenacity in the UK, post the Brexit announcement and the ensuing over 20% currency devaluation, where we delivered a commendable 5% visitation growth. Highlights of 2016 include the massive 20% boost in Chinese visitors, crossing the half million mark for the first time with 540,000 tourists arriving in Dubai; and the definitive resurgence of Russian inbound tourism recording a 14% growth in overnight traffic. Both countries are only expected to further accelerate through 2017 thanks to the UAE's recent implementation of visas-on-arrival for all their citizens," Almarri summarized. Taking a closer look at Key Figures and Growth Drivers: The Gulf Cooperation Council remained the number one volume generator for tourism to Dubai, delivering the highest share of visitor volumes for 2016, with a total of 3.4 million, up 5% over 2015. In terms of country-specific performance, KSA spearheaded the contribution with over 1.6 million visitors, a 6% increase, with Oman next in line accounting for over 1 million travelers. Kuwait and Qatar retained their top 20 status, registering an annual growth of 2% and 9% respectively. On a regional level, Western Europe followed closely as second highest demand driver for travel to Dubai, accounting for 21% of the total 2016 tourism volumes with more than 3.1 million tourists, which represents a solid four 4% annual growth. The UK retained its position as Dubai's number three market bringing in nearly 1.25 million visitors, while Germany stayed comfortably within the top 10 list maintaining stable performance with 460,000 visitors. Dubai remained a preferred destination for proximity markets across the wider Middle East and North African region that collectively contributed 1.6 million visitors despite heightened regional challenges. Much of the remaining volumes came from countries within the top 20, including the likes of Egypt and Jordan, that showed signs of returning back to stability and poised to drive future regional growth.