Foreign tourist arrivals in Dubai soar to 7.12 million in H1 2022

Expo 2020 & other events boost traffic close to 2019 levels
/ New Delhi
Foreign tourist arrivals in Dubai soar to 7.12 million in H1 2022

DET says number of tourists recorded in H1 2022 was close to the numbers achieved in the first six months of 2019, which saw 8.36 million tourists arriving in Dubai

Aided by massive boost in air connectivity as well as high-profile global events, notably the Expo 2020, Dubai has seen a resurgence of tourist arrivals from overseas and the first half of the year sees as many as 7.12 million visitors, just a shade below the 2019 level.
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Dubai has maintained its position as one of the leading global tourism destinations since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. According to data released by the Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) of the government of Dubai, the emirate received 7.12 million international overnight visitors between January and June 2022. This translates into more than 183 pc growth in visitors compared to the 2.52 million tourists who visited Dubai during the same period in 2021. The DET says that this positive trend in H1 2022 places the city firmly on track to achieve its tourism goals for 2022 and beyond, and further reinforces its position as an international destination of choice.

“The vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to make Dubai the city of the future and the world’s best place to live, work and invest in has resulted in a resurgence of Dubai’s tourism sector. The growth in tourists reflects the resilience and dynamism of the emirate’s economy. His Highness’s vision has helped Dubai create a strong and stable economic foundation and a dynamic business ecosystem, enabling it to become a leading global hub for diverse sectors. The rapid rise in international tourist arrivals puts Dubai on track to achieve its ambitious target of becoming the world’s most visited destination. In the years ahead, Dubai will continue to develop itself further as a destination that offers compelling value to international travellers,” says Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai.

The DET adds that the number of tourists recorded in H1 2022 was close to the numbers achieved in the first six months of 2019, which saw 8.36 million tourists arriving in Dubai. ‘‘The emirate’s ability to quickly return to near pre-pandemic tourism levels is even more remarkable given the impact of unprecedented challenges and other macroeconomic factors on the global economy and tourism sector,” says a press release.

Europe, GCC, South Asia key source markets

In terms of source markets, Dubai has seen a diversity in terms of tourist arrivals in the first half of the current year. While Western Europe accounted for 22 pc of total international visitors, the GCC and other Middle East and North African (MENA) countries together was the largest source market, collectively contributing 34 pc of total international visitors. Next on the list was South Asia with a share of 16 pc and Russia, CIS and Eastern Europe together accounting for 11 pc of total visitors in H1 2022. From South Asia, India, which is the single largest source market for Dubai, registered a 100 pc growth in traffic to the emirate. While in the first half of 2021, 409,000 Indian tourists had visited Dubai, the number more than doubled this year with 858,000 visitors in the first six months of the year.

‘‘The wide geographic spread reflects Dubai’s diversified strategy aimed at driving traffic from a broad spectrum of countries and visitor segments, mitigating the risks associated with over-reliance on any one region, and underscoring the success of destination marketing campaigns delivering customised messaging across specialised audience-specific platforms,’’ says the press statement.

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Hotel industry benefits from boom

The spike in tourism has also benefitted the vast hospitality sector of Dubai which offers a wide range of hotel establishments. According to the DET data, average occupancy for the hotel sector between January and June 2022 stood at 74 pc, one of the world’s highest, compared to 62 pc in H1 2021, growth of 12 pc and just short of the 76 pc occupancy in the pre-pandemic period. DET says that the hotel sector’s performance is even more remarkable the as room inventory in the emirate has grown by 19 pc since 2019 and yet it saw a massive jump in terms of room occupancy levels.

Dubai’s hotel inventory by the end of June 2022 comprised 140,778 rooms open at 773 hotel establishments, compared to 118,345 rooms available at the end of June 2019 across 714 establishments, says the DET.

Large-scale events boost traffic

DET says the Dubai remains one of the most sought-after cities for international travel, business and events at a time when the majority of global destinations have reopened for tourism. ‘‘The highly encouraging industry performance is primarily attributed to the hugely successful six-month long Expo 2020 Dubai, which attracted over 24 million visits by the time it concluded on 31 March this year, as well as the continued support extended by both domestic and global partners in showcasing Dubai as a multi-faceted destination that is safe, open and accessible,’’ says DET. One of the key attractions and pull factors of Dubai is the large number festivals, leisure and business events, including the 3xpo 2020 Dubai, Dubai Shopping Festival, Dubai Food Festival, Gulfood, and the Dubai World Cup that have been organised in the emirate.

To promote Dubai, the DET says it will continue to engage global audiences through international campaigns and in-market trade activities that highlight it as a destination of choice. This includes the ‘Dubai Presents’ campaign, which promotes the city’s attractions through a series of movie-style trailers featuring stars from both Hollywood and Bollywood. Marketing activities in key international markets have also been enhanced to showcase the city as the summer destination of choice, particularly through a rewarding ‘Stay More, Pay Less’ summer campaign to attract travellers and families to Dubai, in addition to driving traffic to the ongoing Dubai Summer Surprises festival, says the press statement.

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