Gulf tourism hub, Dubai, had 15.92 million overnight tourist visitors in 2018, up by 0.8 per cent from 2017, official data showed on Sunday.
The number of visitors from Nigeria soared 36 per cent, while tourist numbers from China rose 12 per cent.
Dubai, one of the seven emirates which make up the United Arab Emirates, has spent billions of dollars trying to attract foreign tourists.
It is home of the world’s tallest skyscraper “the Burj Khalifa’’.
India remained Dubai’s top overseas market in 2018, with more than two million visitors, similar to 2017.
In second place were Saudi visitors 1.6 million, largely helped by specialised city-wide campaigns for the kingdom’s national day.
Britain came in third, while China ranked fourth but recorded a 12 per cent year on year growth 875,000 visitors. Nigeria posted a 36 per cent rise in visitors to 185,000.
China overtook Oman, which along with Pakistan posted a decline in the number of tourists visiting Dubai last year, the data indicated.
The UAE relaxed visa rules for Chinese in recent years in a bid to boost tourism.