(MENAFN- Khaleej Times)
Published: Sun 5 Feb 2023, 5:17 PM
Last updated: Sun 5 Feb 2023, 5:45 PM
Dubai has doubled the number of international overnight visitors it welcomed in 2022 compared to the previous year. The emirate received 14.36 million visitors in 2022, growing 97 per cent year on year from the 7.28 million tourist arrivals in 2021, according to the latest data published by Dubai's Department of Economy and Tourism (DET).
With this, the emirate has closed in on its pre-pandemic visitation of 16.73 million in 2019.
Additionally, average hotel occupancy in 2022 stood at 73 per cent - one of the highest in the world - rising from 67 per cent in 2021. The figure is just short of the 75 per cent occupancy in the pre-pandemic period of 2019.
The latest statistics come weeks after the city's 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 latest data from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) shows that global tourist travel in 2022 was 37 per cent lower than in 2019.
The Middle East saw the strongest relative increase, with arrivals climbing to 83 per cent of pre-pandemic numbers. Dubai exceeded both global and regional barometers of recovery, with visitors to the city in 2022 reaching 86 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, said: '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.
'The high growth shows the world that we never rest on our achievements and constantly work to raise our benchmarks. I am confident that Dubai will be an even greater catalyst for the growth of global tourism and travel connectivity in the years ahead.'
Dubai's 2022 performance features some spikes in the city's traditional key markets and strong growth across emerging ones. The emirate remained a first-choice safe travel destination for visitors from the city's stronghold markets.
From a regional perspective, Western Europe and GCC regions each accounted for a 21 per cent share of arrivals. The GCC region, in particular, saw an exponential increase in their share of arrivals from 13 per cent in 2021 to 21 per cent last year. South Asia contributed 17 per cent of total volumes, while the MENA region had 12 per cent. The Americas accounted for seven per cent of arrivals, while the North Asia and South East Asia region and Africa each contributed five per cent, and Australasia accounted for two per cent.
Helal Saeed Almarri, director-general of the DET, said the latest statistics show the 'extraordinary progress' made by the city over the past two years.
'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 as 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 the world's top three cities for tourism and business.'
Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing, said the emirate remains committed to moving to the 'next level' with new and unique world-class infrastructure, experiences and attractions.
The Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan aims to expand the emirate's tourism offering by over 100 per cent. It will launch new initiatives aligned with the UAE Tourism Strategy, which seeks to attract 40 million guests by 2031 and increase the tourism sector's contribution to the emirate's GDP to Dh450 billion.
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