2023: Dubai Tourism’s Best Year

Dubai achieves best ever annual tourism performance with international tourists growing to 17.15 million in 2023…reports Asian Lite News

Dubai welcomed more tourists than ever before in 2023, attracting 17.15 million international overnight visitors over the course of the year, according to the latest data published by Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET).

Representing a 19.4% YoY growth over the 14.36 million tourist arrivals in 2022, last year’s figure also exceeded the previous record of 16.73 million visitors registered in 2019.

The growth aligns with the goals of the Dubai Economic Agenda D33 launched just over a year ago by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to further consolidate Dubai’s position as one of the top three global cities for business and leisure, and the best city to visit, live and work in.

H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, said, “The best ever performance of Dubai’s tourism sector in 2023 is a testament to the foresight of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. His Highness’s commitment to fostering resilience, excellence and innovation across economic sectors and encouraging meaningful public-private partnerships that deliver value has had a transformative impact on tourism development in the emirate.

Dubai’s ability to constantly generate diverse and refreshingly novel travel and tourism experiences catering to a wide range of visitors has been a key factor behind this exceptional performance. With several indicators outperforming pre-pandemic levels, this year’s results mark Dubai out as a vibrant focal point of growth in the global tourism landscape.”

Celebrating a record-breaking year in 2023, Dubai further bolstered its ranking as the No.1 global destination for an unprecedented third successive year in the Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards 2024, the first city to achieve this unique accolade.

The tourism sector’s performance closely parallels the emirate’s 3.3% GDP growth in the first nine months of 2023, further highlighting the symbiotic relationship between tourism and economic prosperity. Accommodation and food services activities witnessed a remarkable 11.1% growth, solidifying Dubai’s position as a global tourism leader.

Dubai’s international visitor performance has outshone global tourism trends, with the latest data from the UN World Tourism Organisation revealing that, overall, international tourism reached 88% of pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2023. The only region to overcome pre-pandemic levels with 22% visitation growth above 2019, the Middle East led global recovery in relative terms.

Our success stems from a diversified portfolio, with significant gains in leisure, new emerging segments, and the MICE sector as a whole, which have been further catalysed by liberal visa policies and dynamic private sector ambition. These strides reinforce Dubai’s status as a premier destination for living, visiting, and conducting business.

With the Dubai Economic Agenda D33’s strategy serving as our economic compass for the next ten years, we are committed to strengthening the tourism sector, enhancing our assets and infrastructure, and stimulating broader economic growth. This comprehensive approach ensures tourism thrives in tandem with our goals of talent acquisition, business acceleration and government innovation, to position Dubai as the epicentre for all those eyeing their next phase of growth and expansion.”

Key regions maintain momentum

The strong tourism performance in 2023 saw Dubai maintain its position as a first-choice travel destination for visitors both from key traditional and emerging markets. From a regional perspective, the GCC and MENA delivered a combined 28% of the share, demonstrating Dubai’s allure as a trusted and favoured destination for visitors from neighbouring markets. Western Europe and South Asia accounted for 19% and 18% of arrivals respectively, while CIS/Eastern Europe recorded a 13% share. The North Asia and South-East Asia region accounted for 9% of arrivals, the Americas contributed 7%, Africa 4% and Australasia 2%.

Hotels outperform pre-pandemic levels

Dubai’s hospitality sector, which is integral to the emirate’s destination promise and overall growth of the tourism industry, continued to perform strongly, surpassing pre-pandemic levels across all hospitality metrics – Occupancy, Occupied Room Nights, Guests’ Length of Stay, Average Daily Rate (ADR), and Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR).

Global liveability hub

In addition to securing the Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards, Dubai also garnered recognition across various fronts, offering residents and visitors a unique blend of opportunities, safety, and world-class amenities in a vibrant and dynamic setting.

In a report by financial services provider Remitly, Dubai was hailed as the No.1 city in the world to relocate to in 2023, showcasing its allure as a preferred destination for individuals seeking new opportunities and a high quality of life. Furthermore, property consultancy Savills identified Dubai as the best city in the world for remote workers, emphasising its conducive environment for professionals embracing the virtual working lifestyle.

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