Dubai records nearly 200% jump in international tourists

The city has ranked first globally in hotel occupancy, ahead of New York, London


Waheed Abbas

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Published: Thu 23 Jun 2022, 5:58 PM

Last updated: Thu 23 Jun 2022, 6:12 PM

Tourism in Dubai has strongly rebounded in the post-pandemic period as the emirate recorded a massive increase of around 200 per cent in tourist arrivals, and the occupancy reached the highest among the world’s top cities.

According to data released by the Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) on Thursday, Dubai received 6.17 million international visitors during the first five months of 2022, a massive increase of 197 per cent as compared to the same period last year. From January to May last year, Dubai received 2 million international visitors.

Dubai hotels maintained an average occupancy level of 76 per cent from January to May 2022 compared to 62 per cent during the corresponding period in 2021.

According to data from hotel management analytics firm STR, Dubai ranked No.1 globally in hotel occupancy, ahead of other international destinations including New York (61 per cent), London (60 per cent) and Paris (57 per cent), for the January-April 2022 period.

“We are building on the massive momentum generated by the hugely successful Expo 2020 to drive growth across all our tourism pillars from cultural to culinary experiences, while working towards achieving the ambitious goal of making Dubai the most visited destination and the city of the future that will be the best place in the world to live and work,” said Helal Saeed Almarri, director-general, Department of Economy and Tourism.

“As we look ahead to the remainder of 2022 and beyond, we will harness the key elements that have ensured the industry’s steady growth year after year since we reopened to international visitors in 2020 – providing an unparalleled diverse destination offering that offers unique value and memorable experiences for our guests. This can only happen with the support of our stakeholders, and we are counting on them to continue playing a pivotal role in facilitating growth, as well as restoring confidence and trust among travellers in Dubai as a safe destination,” Almarri added.

Summer season to accelerate momentum

Issam Kazim, CEO, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM), opened the day’s programme by providing an overview of the industry with a detailed presentation that featured valuable visitor and marketing insights, in addition to an update on the communications activities that are underway across key international markets that include a novel campaign designed to encourage more families and global travellers to select the city for their summer vacation.

To increase occupancy level, the emirate had launched the ‘Stay More, Pay Less’ campaign in cooperation with hotels to offer guests an amazing offer - stay for seven nights at participating hotels and resorts and pay for only five nights or stay for five nights and pay for only three nights stay.

Kazim added that Dubai’s positive performance is also a testament to the city’s resilience and the success of the recovery strategy. “As we strive to leverage a robust domestic market and the growing international visitation, we are confident that the summer season will serve as an ideal launchpad to further accelerate momentum across the industry.”

Online search for Dubai at pre-pandemic level

The data suggests that since Q4 2021, there have been over 200 million searches for travel to Dubai, and in May 2022 searches and bookings for the destination reached almost pre-pandemic levels.

Ahmed Al Khaja, CEO of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment, said Dubai offers more value than any comparable destination with its world-class infrastructure.

“Besides, our continuous collaboration with stakeholders and partners has paved the way for Dubai to offer a unique holiday package, allowing families, residents and visitors to avail themselves of innovative promotions, incentives and diverse deals this summer in Dubai,” he added.


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