According to the latest information provided by Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism, the city welcomed 14.36 million foreign overnight guests in 2022, an increase of 97% year over year from the 7.28 million visitors that arrived in 2021. (DET).
The emirate also got close to reaching the 16.73 million visitors it had before the pandemic in 2019, which further supported its ranking as the top global destination in the Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards 2023 for the second year in a row. Only two cities in history have accomplished this feat.
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council said: “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, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, 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.”
According to the most recent statistics from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), global tourism in 2022 was 37% lower than in 2019. The Middle East experienced the most remarkable relative growth, with arrivals rising to 83% of pre-pandemic levels. Dubai surpassed both international and regional recovery indicators, with visitors to the city reaching 86% of pre-pandemic levels in 2022.
Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism, said: “While the global economy remains in a state of flux, Dubai has emerged as a clear leader in the tourism industry. The robust performance is a testament to Dubai’s growing role at the vanguard of global tourism recovery. The positive momentum also shows that tourism remains a significant contributor to the city’s economic growth and sustainable development, further driving the goal of the Dubai Economic Agenda D33 to reinforce Dubai’s status as one of world’s top three cities for tourism and business.”
Dubai’s international markets maintain momentum
Each of the GCC and Western Europe regions received 21% of all arrivals. Particularly for the GCC region, the share of arrivals increased significantly from 13% in 2021 to 21% last year. The MENA region provided 12% of the overall volumes, while South Asia contributed 17%. The region of North and South East Asia, Africa, and Australasia each contributed 5% of arrivals, while the Americas accounted for 7% of them. Australasia contributed 2%.
Strong growth in the hospitality sector
After increasing from 67 per cent in 2021 to 73 per cent in 2022, the hotel industry’s average occupancy rate was one of the highest in the world. The occupancy rate drops just short of the pre-pandemic era of 2019’s 75% occupancy. Since the high occupancy was attained despite a 16% increase in room supply in 2022 compared to 2019, it is especially notable. Compared to the 126,120 rooms available at the end of December 2019 across 741 establishments, Dubai’s hotel inventory by the end of December 2022 consisted of 146,496 rooms at 804 hotels. With 755 hotels offering 137,950 rooms, the overall number of hotels increased by 6% from 2021 to 2022.
All other important metrics, including Occupied Room Nights, Average Daily Rate (ADR), and Revenue Per Available Room, showed the hotel industry performing better than it did before the pandemic (RevPAR). A record-breaking 37.43 million occupied room nights were recorded in 2022, representing a 19% increase over 2021’s figure of 31.47 million and a 17% increase over the 32.11 million occupied room nights recorded in 2019 prior to the pandemic.
The ADR of Dh536 in 2022 exceeded the ADRs of Dh451 in 2021 and Dh415 in 2019, with rises of 19% and 29%, respectively. The hotel industry’s strong success is also demonstrated by its RevPAR growth, which increased by 25% over the pre-pandemic period of 2019 and by 30% compared to 2021 (Dh391 vs. Dh301) (RevPAR of Dh312).
Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing, said: “Our partners played a pivotal role in achieving the No.1 ranking with their contributions to both Dubai’s tourism growth and the sector’s global rebound, as well as their active participation in all our global campaigns and marketing activities that have driven consideration for Dubai as the destination of choice for global travellers. The exceptional support of our public and private sector stakeholders and partners will be instrumental in raising our ability to showcase our unmatched offering designed to meet the diverse preferences and budgets of international travellers, as we gear up to welcome more visitors to Dubai in 2023.”
New landmarks, initiatives to spur growth
Several brand-new programmes and attractions were introduced in 2022. Among these is the opening of Dubai’s new famous landmark, the Museum of the Future, which serves as a portal to a future world. Dubai also presented Atlantis The Royal, a massive resort on the Palm Jumeirah, and Expo City, the dynamic legacy of Expo 2020, an innovation-driven, human-centric vision of the future.
Dubai is on track to realise its goal of becoming the city of the future with the implementation of the Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan, which intends to increase the emirate’s tourism offering by more than 100%. As part of the UAE 2031 Tourism Strategy, which aims to welcome 40 million visitors by that year and boost the sector’s contribution to the emirate’s GDP to Dh450 billion, Dubai will also introduce new initiatives.
Multiple visa options
In addition, Dubai keeps introducing powerful regulatory efforts to support the rapid expansion of the tourist industry, such as hassle-free entrance processes for both business and leisure travellers that sped up access to the emirate by forging long-term connections with the city. These include the Golden Visa, Virtual Working, and Retire in Dubai programmes, as well as the 60-day tourist visa that will be available starting in September 2022 and the Five-Year Multi-Entry Visa for employees of international corporations. Dubai was chosen as one of 20 locations worldwide in 2022 as part of Airbnb’s Live and Work Anywhere project to find the locations with the best conditions for remote workers. In collaboration with Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism, Airbnb also established the Dubai Remote Working Hub, a one-stop shop for aspirant remote workers.