Tourist Destination

Dubai: 4.67M visitors in Q1 2023, a top global tourist destination

Dubai experienced a significant boost in tourism during the first quarter of 2023, welcoming 4.67 million foreign visitors. This marked a 17% year-on-year increase from the 3.97 million tourists who visited the city during the same period in 2022. The Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) of Dubai revealed these figures, highlighting Dubai’s status as a leading global tourist destination. The city’s performance in the first quarter of 2023 was its strongest since the outbreak of the pandemic.

Dubai’s tourism expansion aligns with the Dubai Economic Agenda D33, a plan unveiled earlier in the year by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President, Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai. Under this agenda, Dubai aims to establish itself as one of the top three cities globally.

H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, emphasized the city’s emergence as a leading destination in the global tourism sector. He attributed this achievement to Dubai’s visionary leadership, which has transformed the city into a rapidly growing metropolis and a hub for travel, talent, entrepreneurship, and investment. Sheikh Hamdan also highlighted the significance of the tourism sector as a driving force behind Dubai’s economy and its unique role as a bridge between markets, cultures, and regions. Looking ahead, Dubai plans to introduce innovative initiatives to further enhance its appeal as the world’s best place to live, visit, work, and invest in.

The World Trade Organisation of the United Nations had forecasted a substantial increase in foreign visitor arrivals, particularly in Europe and the Middle East, with an expected growth rate of 80% to 95% compared to pre-pandemic levels. However, the latest industry data, presented at the 30th Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, indicates that Dubai is leading the global recovery, reaching 98% of pre-pandemic levels in the first quarter of 2023.

Dubai’s visitor count in Q1 2023 was just two percentage points shy of the pre-pandemic volume of 4.75 million tourists recorded in the same period of 2019. This achievement is remarkable considering that the city reopened to international tourists in July 2020 amidst global economic challenges. Furthermore, Dubai received additional recognition as it was voted the world’s top travel destination for the second time in history at the Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards 2023.

Helal Saeed Almarri, the Director General of Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism, expressed optimism about Dubai’s trajectory for the year, highlighting the city’s commitment to becoming the most visited and revisited destination. He attributed the positive industry performance to the well-defined strategy of Dubai and the unwavering support of tourism industry partners and stakeholders. Almarri emphasized the city’s ongoing transformation in terms of infrastructure, technology, attractions, and experiences, all aligned with the goals of the Dubai Economic Agenda 2033.

Dubai’s diverse multi-geographic approach to tourism has proven successful, with its traditional source markets continuing to have a positive impact on international tourist arrivals. The GCC and MENA regions contributed 29% of the total volumes, followed by South Asia with 16%, the Commonwealth of Independent States and Eastern Europe with 15%, the Americas with 7%, North Asia and South East Asia with 6%, Africa with 4%, and Australasia with 1%. Western Europe accounted for 22% of the total tourist arrivals.

While four regions have fully recovered and surpassed Q1 2019 levels, the majority of regions witnessed significant increases in Q1 2023 compared to the same period in 2022. South Asia and Western Europe are

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