DUBAI: As trade and investment relations between the UAE and Japan have grown, so too has the number of Japanese visiting the Gulf state.
Dubai is already seen as a preferred destination for Japanese tourists, with the city welcoming as many as 104,800 of them in 2018.
According to the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), 15.3 percent growth was registered in 2017.
And in the first half of 2019 there were more than 58,000 Japanese visitors, up 10 percent from the same period last year, the DTCM said.
Senior officials say there are also efforts to promote investments and provide support for small and medium enterprises in both countries.
UAE Economy Minister Sultan bin Saeed Al-Mansoori recently commended the continuous development and growth of bilateral economic relations.
He said the volume of non-oil trade between the two countries reached approximately 53.5 billion UAE dirhams ($14.6 billion).
Japan’s investments contributed to the UAE’s development, particularly in sectors such as advanced technologies, renewable energy, transportation, aviation and health care, he added.
Al-Mansoori said there are more than 100 Japanese companies in the UAE, 200 Japanese agencies and more than 10,000 registered trademarks. Japanese investments in the UAE reached about 14.3 billion dirhams ($3.9 billion), he added.
Bilateral ties have been extremely successful — made even stronger by joint programs and initiatives that have been implemented for both countries’ benefit, he said.
The two sides are also eying new technology to enhance the relationship. The DTCM’s launch of Tourism 2.0 — a blockchain that will enable a business-to-business marketplace and allow hotels and tour operators to connect directly — will boost the department’s mission to establish Dubai as the leading destination for global travel and business events.
From January to June 2019, Dubai welcomed 8.36 million international tourists, a 3 percent increase from the same period last year, according to a Dubai Tourism report.
Dubai has set a goal of welcoming 20 million visitors per year by 2020. In 2017, it welcomed 15.79 million visitors, an increase of 6.2 percent over the previous year.