Dubai received 14.36 million international overnight visitors in 2022, growing 97% from the 7.28 million tourist arrivals in 2021, according to the latest data published by the city’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET).
The growth, which enabled the emirate to surpass global and regional tourism recovery levels, contributes to the goal of the Dubai Economic Agenda D33 launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to consolidate Dubai’s status as one of the world’s top three cities for travel and business.
The exceptional growth in the inflow of visitors reflects Dubai’s continued rise as one of the world’s most connected cities and its determination to lead the world in hospitality infrastructure and service levels.His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince
“Dubai’s ability to rapidly accelerate tourism growth, which has marked it out as a clear frontrunner in the international industry, demonstrates the far-reaching vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to transform the emirate into an important global player in shaping the future of vital sectors. The remarkable rise in international visitation in 2022 supports the ambitious goal of the Dubai Economic Agenda D33 to double the size of the emirate’s economy by 2033. The tourism and travel sector contributes significantly to the leadership’s aim of making the emirate a model for excellence in the global economy”, said His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai.
1. Tourism recovery
By closing in on its pre-pandemic visitation of 16.73 million in 2019, the Dubai’s 2022 tourism performance further validated its ranking as the No.1 global destination in the Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards 2023 for the second successive year, only the second city in history to achieve the feat.
The high growth shows the world that we never rest on our achievements and constantly work to raise our benchmarks.His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai
The strong performance in 2022 features some noteworthy spikes in Dubai’s traditional key markets and strong growth across emerging markets. From a regional perspective, Western Europe and GCC regions each accounted for a 21% of arrivals. The GCC region in particular saw an exponential increase in their share of arrivals from 13% in 2021. South Asia contributed 17% of total volumes while the MENA region contributed 12%, further reinforcing the city’s continued appeal to travellers from proximity markets. The Americas accounted for 7% of arrivals while the North Asia and South East Asia region and Africa each contributed 5% and Australasia accounted for 2%.
Dubai’s hotel sector, which continues to be integral to the emirate’s destination promise and the overall growth of the tourism industry, continued to perform strongly across all hospitality metrics. Average occupancy for the hotel sector in 2022 stood at 73%, one of the highest in the world, rising from 67% in 2021. The figure is just short of the 75% occupancy in the pre-pandemic period of 2019. The hotel sector outperformed pre-pandemic levels across all other key measurements – Occupied Room Nights, Average Daily Rate (ADR) and Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR).
2. Growing strategy
Dubai continues to unveil strong regulatory initiatives to promote the accelerated growth of the tourism sector including hassle-free entry procedures for business and leisure travellers that streamline access to the emirate by establishing long-term engagement with the city.
The effectiveness of our strategies and initiatives gives us the confidence to tap new growth opportunities in the global travel and business sectors over the next few decades.H.E. Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism
One of the biggest success stories of the region in 2022, Expo 2020 Dubai, made a massive contribution to the tourism industry’s outstanding performance, the six-month long event having attracted over 24 million visits.
Cruise and yacht tourism also played a crucial role in attracting international tourists and strengthening Dubai’s position as a global travel hub in 2022. The expansion of the cruise sector has further consolidated the city’s status as the cruise hub of the region.
The culinary sector was another significant driver of growth in 2022, with the rich, creative and multi-cultural dining scene attracting visitors and accolades from across the globe. The city’s thriving culinary landscape was recognised with the launch of the inaugural Michelin Guide Dubai in June 2022, the first regional edition of the world’s most prestigious restaurant guide. Dubai’s restaurants and chefs were also recognised in the inaugural edition of the Middle East & North Africa region’s 50 Best Restaurants list unveiled in February 2022, which celebrates culinary excellence across the region.
Moreover, in 2022, a number of new attractions and initiatives were launched as part of the ever-evolving destination proposition. These include the unveiling of the Museum of the Future, Dubai’s new iconic landmark that offers a gateway to a future world. Dubai also unveiled Expo City, the dynamic legacy of Expo 2020, an innovation-driven, human centric vision of the future, and Atlantis The Royal, a mega resort located on Palm Jumeirah.
With sustainability embedded in its tourism strategy, Dubai has taken decisive measures to position itself as a top choice for holidaymakers seeking sustainable and safe destinations. Dubai Sustainable Tourism (DST) has taken steps to contribute to the city’s broader clean energy targets and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2030, as well as the UAE’s Net Zero 2050 strategy.
With the implementation of the Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan, which aims to expand the emirate’s tourism offering by over 100%, Dubai is on track to achieve its vision of becoming the city of the future. Furthermore, Dubai will launch new initiatives aligned with the UAE 2031 Tourism Strategy, which seeks to attract 40 million guests by 2031 and increase the tourism sector’s contribution to the emirate’s GDP to AED 450 billion (about €113.8 billion).