Tourism in Dubai continued to boom as the emirate reports its best-ever performance in terms of number of international overnight visitors in a year.
According to a press statement issued by Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism (DET), a total of 17.15 million international overnight visitors travelled to Dubai in 2023, well above the the previous record of 16.73 million visitors, registered in 2019.
According to the data released by DET, the arrivals in 2023 represented a 19.4 pc year-on-year growth over the 14.36 million tourist arrivals that the emirate reported in 2022.
The statement adds that the GCC and MENA regions together accounted for a combined 28 pc of the total number of visitors to the UAE last year. Western Europe and South Asia accounted for 19 pc and 18 pc of arrivals respectively, while CIS and Eastern Europe recorded a 13 pc share.
The North Asia and South East Asia region accounted for 9 pc of arrivals, the Americas contributed 7 pc, Africa 4 pc and Australasia 2 pc.
The statement adds that the average occupancy for Dubai’s hotel sector in 2023 stood at 77.4 pc. It highlights that the occupancy rate needs to be seen in the light that Dubai also reported a 19 pc rise in total room supply in 2023 compared to 2019.
Dubai’s hotel inventory at the end of December 2023 stood at 150,291 rooms at 821 establishments, compared to 146,496 rooms available at the end of December 2022 across 804 establishments, says DET.
In 2023, occupied room nights reached a record high of 41.70 million, a 11 pc increase compared to 2022, when it stood at 37.43 million. DET adds that this growth also represented a 30 pc rise from the pre-pandemic figures of 2019, which saw 32.11 million occupied room nights.
In terms of the prices for the rooms, the 2023 Average Daily Rate (ADR) stood at AED 536 (USD 146), which matched the ADR in 2022. The hotel sector’s RevPAR of AED 415 in 2023 also increased 6 pc over 2022. The average length of stay for guests was 3.8 nights in 2023.
DET adds that the tourism sector’s performance accompanies the emirate’s 3.3 pc GDP growth in the first nine months of 2023.
As for its events sector, major business and leisure events held in 2023 included Gulfood, which attracted 134,000 visitors and 5,000 exhibitors, Gitex Global Dubai, that reported 170,000 visitors and 6,000 exhibitors, the International Boat Show, which saw 30,000 visitors and Arabian Travel Market that registered a record 40,000 visitors.
The statement adds that Dubai Business Events, part of DET and the city’s official convention bureau, won a record 349 bids to host international conferences, congresses, meetings, and incentive travel programmes over the coming years.
“The sustained success will further enhance visitors’ enduring trust, confidence and affinity for Dubai, as it accelerates towards the goal of becoming the best city to visit, live and work in, and ultimately converting visitors into long-term residents. We are strategically harnessing the significant momentum generated during a highly successful 2023 to drive growth across all segments of tourism. As we look forward to welcoming more visitors in 2024, the unwavering support of our public and private sector partners will be pivotal in enhancing our capacity to showcase our unparalleled offerings tailored to cater to the diverse preferences and budgets of international travellers,” says Issam Kazim, CEO of the Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM).