Updated on May 29, 2023 by Axel Hernborg

Axel Hernborg

The blistering temperatures, mega-malls, and sandy desert tours have all played a part in making Dubai one of the most popular destinations among tourists in the world, and the numbers and statistics reflecting this only seem to be rising.

Dubai is considered by many to be the financial hub of the Middle East, acting as a pillar of the region’s economy, and while it may have struggled to get back to its footing after the pandemic, Dubai is finally starting to re-emerge as the tourist powerhouse it’s always been.

Let’s take a closer and more detailed look at some of the major statistics concerning tourism and travel in Dubai over the last 2 years to better understand where it currently sits in terms of popularity, and how much the slowdown of 2020 has affected this.

Essential Dubai Tourism Statistics

Before analysing the more complex and in-depth data that has been released over the last 2 years, it can be well worth looking over the essential statistics first, just to give us a good idea of how popular Dubai actually still is within the tourism industry.

  • Throughout the entirety of 2022, 14.36 million international visitors journeyed to Dubai. In comparison, there were only 7.28 million in 2021, and 16.73 million the year in 2019.
  • The majority of visitors travelled from Western Europe which made up 21% of the total tourist pool, but right behind them were the GCC (Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates).
  • The highest number of international visitors from a single country came from India with 1.8 million people travelling to Dubai in 2022.
  • This was followed by Russia with 230,000 visitors, Oman with a total of 201,000, and then the UK with 196,000. In terms of the amount of money spent on the tourist industry, the UAE is ranked 4th having spent over 24 billion dollars overall.
  • According to Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism, Dubai has received 3.1 million visitors in the first two months of 2023.
  • The Dubai International Airport has remained the world’s busiest international hub for the ninth year in a row. The airport handled over 16,000 flights in March 2022 alone which is an increase of 23% from the previous year.
  • The operator of Dubai Airports has stated that 78 million people will travel through the hub by the end of 2023.

Why People Choose To Visit Dubai

As mentioned previously, Dubai has stood as one of the world’s major financial and business centres for many years, and it has always managed to strike the perfect balance between being a sunny leisure getaway, and an area full of work and opportunities.

Here are some of the major reasons why exactly people decide to visit Dubai, and how it has modernised its services and overall appeal over the last 2 years.

  • Dubai is slowly becoming recognised as a destination for “Bleisure”, meaning that people will visit for both business and leisure needs.
  • Many attractions have been opened up since Dubai re-opened itself to international visitors, these include: The Ain Dubai observation wheel, The Museum of the Future, the Deep Dive pool.
  • The Dubai Can initiative has encouraged residents and visitors to use refillable bottles rather than plastic bottles which are only single-use. This has made the location a lot more appealing for visitors who are concerned about environmental issues while travelling.
  • Dubai was voted as the No.1 global destination for 2023 in the Tripadvisor Travellers Choice Awards 2023. This is the second time in a row the city has earned this award, which has no doubt made a big impression on tourists who use Tripadvisor.
  • Celebrity-led campaigns like Dubai Presents featuring Zac Efron and Jessica Alba have proven to be a very successful marketing strategy for convincing people to visit Dubai in the last 2 years.
  • Dubai hosted many different global business and leisure events in 2022 including Gulfood, Binance Blockchain Week, Gitex Global Dubai, Arabian Travel Market, the World Government Summit.
  • The city also hosted a wide selection of different sporting events in 2022 alone. These include the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby 7s, the Dubai Desert Classic Golf Tournament, the Dubai World Cup horse race, Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Championships.
  • The UAE government recently introduced the “Five Year Multi-Entry Visa” plan which has made travelling far easier for employees of international companies trying to access Dubai without all the hassle and paperwork usually required.

Most Popular Attractions In Dubai

Dubai Tourism Statistics And Trends

According to data from Google, these are the most searched areas and attractions in Dubai that people look forward to visiting the most.

  • Burj Khalifa
  • Burj Al Arab
  • Dubai Mall
  • Global Village
  • Ski Dubai
  • Madinat Jumeirah
  • Dubai Museum
  • IMG Worlds of Adventure
  • Dubai Frame
  • Dubai Miracle Garden
  • Palm Jumeirah
  • World Islands
  • Expo 2020

How Long Do People Stay In Dubai?

No one can deny that Dubai is packed full of events and activities to enjoy as part of a visit, but in order to enjoy everything this marvellous city has to offer, an individual is going to need to occupy a hotel for at least a few days at a time.

This is important to analyse because it can reveal how people are interacting with Dubai in the modern age, and if it is being seen as more of a one-day trip to explore as part of a wider Middle Eastern tour, or if people pay the most attention to it.

Here are what recent statistics tell us.

  • The average guest’s length of stay in 2022 was 3.9 days, in 2021 this was 4.6, and in 2019 this was 3.4.
  • 37 million rooms were occupied overnight in 2022, in 2021 this was 31.47 million rooms, and in 2019 it was 32 million.
  • Compared to the 126,120 rooms available in Dubai at the end of 2019, the city now offers 180,000 across 755 hotel establishments, demonstrating how much investment has been poured into the tourism sector of Dubai.
  • The hotel revenue in the UAE in 2022 was 31.60 AED Billions.
  • Dubai’s overall hotel stock rose up to 150,000 keys in the first quarter of 2023, with 2000 keys delivered. Overall, data has predicted that 8000 keys will be delivered to visitors throughout the entire year.
  • Dubai has seen an enormous increase in 4 and 5 star hotels but has also seen a decrease in standard hotel apartments being established and maintained.

Keep in mind that this data can start to look a little lower than it actually is because of hotel hoppers, people who will re-check into a different hotel each night, or every 48 hours.

Of course, this means their time residing in a hotel will be much shorter than everyone else and can cause a dent to appear in some of these statistics.

Dubai Visitors Compared To Other International Cities

Dubai Tourism StatisticsAndTrends (1)

For many years, you couldn’t have a conversation about the most popular and well-known tourist destinations across the world and not mention Dubai, but the last few years have proven to be a real test of how committed these areas actually are to their tourism sector.

While the world was locked down, for countries and cities to continue enjoying the number of international arrivals they normally would, they needed to update their infrastructure, services, and overall appeal to get people re-invested.

So, how has Dubai done on this front? Here is how it stacks up in terms of visitors compared to the other most visited cities in the world throughout 2022.

These stats are provided by Travel Medium.

  • Bangkok – 22.78 million visitors
  • Paris – 19.10 million visitors
  • London – 19 million visitors
  • Dubai – 14.63 million visitors
  • Singapore – 14.62 million visitors

Summary

Dubai has successfully retained its position as one of the most visited cities in the world, and while a lot of this is down to just how many business opportunities are within the area, it is also due to the amount of effort and money poured into Dubai’s tourism sector recently.

The UAE has recognised the importance of tourism in Dubai and decided to double down and introduce more services, conventions, and attractions while the world was locked down, which has allowed the enormous glistening city to get back to its feet extremely quickly.

References

Dubai Tourism