Dubai hosted more tourists than ever before in 2023, attracting 17.15 million international overnight visitors, a 19.4 per cent year-on-year (YoY) increase from 14.36 million arrivals a year ago.
“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,” Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai.
“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.”
The latest figures from the Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) align with the Dubai Economic Agenda D33 initiative to consolidate the city’s position as one of the top three global cities for business and leisure.
The tourism sector’s performance closely parallels Dubai’s 3.3 per cent GDP growth in the first nine months of 2023. Accommodation and food services activities witnessed a remarkable 11.1 per cent growth, cementing the emirate’s position as a leading global tourism hub.
The performance of the tourism sector outpaced global tourism trends, with the latest data from the UN World Tourism Organisation showing that, overall, international tourism reached 88 per cent of pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2023.
Dubai leads the GCC tourism sector
DET said the strong tourism performance in 2023 saw the emirate maintain its position as a first-choice travel destination for visitors both from key traditional and emerging markets.
Earlier in January, Dubai secured the top spot in the Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Best of the Best 2024 awards for the third consecutive year, making it the first city to achieve this remarkable milestone in succession.
From a regional perspective, the GCC and MENA delivered a combined 28 per cent 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 per cent and 18 per cent of arrivals respectively, while the Commonwealth of Independent States/Eastern Europe recorded a 13 per cent share. The North Asia and Southeast Asia region accounted for 9 per cent of arrivals, the Americas contributed 7 per cent, Africa 4 per cent and Australasia 2 per cent.
The average occupancy for Dubai’s hotel sector stood at 77.4 per cent, among the world’s highest, increasing from 72.9 per cent in 2022 and exceeding the 75.3 per cent average occupancy in 2019.
Meanwhile, the city’s hotel inventory at the end of December 2023 comprised 150,291 rooms at 821 establishments, compared to 146,496 rooms available at the end of 2022 across 804 establishments.