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With 20% annual growth, Dubai approaches pre-pandemic levels for foreign tourism in the first half of 2023. 

With 20% annual growth, Dubai approaches pre-pandemic levels for foreign tourism in the first half of 2023. 

Having welcomed a record 8.55 million foreign overnight guests in the first half of 2023, up from 8.36 million visitors in the first half of 2019, Dubai’s rebounding tourism sector is enjoying a triumphant first half of 2023. The most recent data released by Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) shows the industry had its greatest H1 ever, surpassing pre-pandemic visitation levels and supporting the city’s push to become the most popular travel destination in the world. The Dubai Economic Agenda 2033, established by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, aims to solidify the emirate’s position as one of the top three cities in the world. The 20% YoY visitation growth supports this ambition.

The successful and varied citywide marketing campaign for the destination, supported unwaveringly by partners and stakeholders, and carried out under the direction of Dubai’s visionary leadership, is reflected in the record H1 performance. Additionally, it confirms Dubai’s status as the location with the quickest recovery rate internationally and considerably exceeds the UN World Trade Organization’s prediction that foreign visitor arrivals might return to between 80 and 95 percent of pre-pandemic levels this year.

The extraordinary increase in foreign tourists that Dubai saw in the first half of 2023 further demonstrates its emergence as one of the world’s economic powerhouses, according to Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai. This achievement is due to Dubai’s leadership’s foresight, whose vision and wise policies strengthened the city’s resilience in the wake of global crises and allowed it to recover more quickly than other markets. While the increase in foreign visitors supports Dubai’s development into a significant worldwide tourist destination, it also highlights its standing as a key hub for trade, investment, and business.

second consecutive year as the top travel destination in the world

Dubai was named the top global destination in the 2023 Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards thanks to its diverse offerings and willingness to accommodate visitors with a range of needs and preferences. It has only happened twice before in history when the same city has received the coveted honour twice. The diverse offering of the city was highlighted by DET’s specialised programming across markets, which covered a range of leisure touchpoints from heritage to entertainment, outdoor activities and beach adventures, gastronomy, family-friendly experiences, shopping, festivals, sports, and events, as well as yachting and cruise tourism.

“This significant uplift in visitation, which surpasses both pre-pandemic levels and marks a new record for Dubai’s tourism sector, is the result of a highly coordinated, sustainable, and robust strategy, that is underpinned by a strong execution mandate and driven forward by the vision and ongoing support of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and the emirate,” said Helal Saeed Almarri, director general of Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism.

strong performance in key areas

Western Europe became a significant source of tourism arrivals in the first half of 2023, accounting for 20% of all international visits, while the GCC and MENA regions delivered a combined 28% of the regional share, highlighting Dubai’s allure as a dependable and popular destination for tourists from neighbouring markets. South Asia accounted for 17% of all visits, and Russia, the CIS, and Eastern Europe as a whole made up 14%. The Americas, Africa, and Australasia each contributed 7%, 4%, and 2%, while North Asia and South East Asia each produced 8%.

Key markets are still producing.

Dubai experienced remarkable growth in key markets in the first half of 2023 despite the current global economic downturn, geopolitical unrest, and issues with air capacity, thanks to targeted campaigns that highlighted the city’s distinctive offerings, as well as its dynamic global appeal and improved connectivity with various continents.

Overall, hotels fare better.

In H1 2023, Dubai’s hotels performed better than pre-pandemic levels in terms of occupancy, average daily rate (ADR), revenue per available room (RevPAR), and length of stay. Dubai hotels’ average occupancy, which is among the highest in the world at 78%, is 2.2% points higher than the occupancy realised for the same period in H1 2019. Given the 13% increase in hotel establishments and the 26% increase in room capacity compared to the same period in 2019, this gain is particularly significant. By the end of H1 2023, Dubai’s visitors and residents could choose from a total of 810 hotel establishments and 148,689 rooms, as opposed to 714 hotel establishments that were open with 118,345 rooms at the end of H1 2019. This was due to continued domestic and international investment into the sector.

The H1 industry performance is a tribute to the future-focused strategy of our visionary leadership to position Dubai as the best city in the world to visit, live, and work, according to Issam Kazim, CEO of the Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing. Dubai has continued to gain momentum and maintain its lead in a highly competitive global tourist ecosystem, largely through showcasing the variety of the city’s services and the adaptability of our portfolio.  Fostering multi-level collaborations between the public and private sectors is essential to our success in positioning Dubai as a must-visit location.

Cruising and yachting centre for the area

Dubai completed an extremely successful 2022–2023 cruise season with a 125% increase in cruise tourist footfall, with 762,887 people disembarking through the renowned Mina Rashid Terminal and the world-class Dubai Harbour, demonstrating Dubai’s position as the region’s top cruise centre. Additionally, 29% more ship calls were made this season than the previous one.

Source- Travel daily

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