Dubai growth buoyed by strong 2023 tourist numbers, says Sheikh Hamdan

Emirate hosted more than 8.5 million international visitors in the first six months of the year

Dubai's economy is estimated to have grown 5 per cent last year and is forecast to increase by 3.5 per cent in 2023, according to Emirates NBD. AP
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Dubai strengthened its status as a major global economic centre in the first half of 2023, as it continued to perform strongly across sectors, according to Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai.

The emirate hosted more than 8.5 million visitors in the past six months and also emerged as one of the world’s three most attractive cities for the wealthy, and one of the fastest-recovering cities since the Covid-19 pandemic, he wrote in a tweet on Sunday.

"Dubai achieved new levels of growth and was at the forefront of many economic fields ... Dubai continues to reinforce its position as a major global economic hub, and will always be the best place to live and work worldwide," Sheikh Hamdan said, as he reviewed a report on the main highlights of the emirate's economic performance in the January to June period.

The strong performance of Dubai's stock market and the property sector also added impetus to the emirate's growth in the first six months of the year.

Dubai Financial Market (DFM)-listed companies recorded a total market value of Dh652 billion ($178 billion), while trading volumes rose to more than Dh46 billion in the first six months, Dubai Media Office said. Nasdaq Dubai also recorded strong growth, with the value of listed Sukuk rising to $75 billion during the period, "making it one of the world’s leading hubs for sukuk listings".

The emirate's real-estate sector also continued to experience demand growth in the first six months of the year, with total transactions reaching Dh285 billion, Sheikh Hamdan said.

"This robust performance supports the objectives of [Dubai Economic Agenda] D33 to create a highly competitive environment and infrastructure," he said.

Dubai's economy is estimated to have grown 5 per cent last year and is forecast to increase by 3.5 per cent in 2023, according to Emirates NBD.

The emirate's economy expanded by 4.6 per cent on an annual basis in the first nine months of 2022, with wholesale and retail trade accounting for 24.1 per cent of its gross domestic product, data from the Dubai Statistics Centre shows.

Dubai International Airport increased its annual passenger forecast for this year after hitting 95.6 per cent of its pre-pandemic levels of traffic in the first quarter of 2023.

The airport handled 21.2 million passengers during the first three months of the year, up 55.8 per cent from the first quarter of 2022.

The Dubai property market registered strong growth in the first quarter, with total transaction value up 80 per annually to Dh157 billion in the first quarter of 2023, according to official data. The number of transactions also rose 49 per cent during the period to 38,715.

Dubai is the world's top market for $10 million homes as sales hit $3.1 billion in the first half of the year, edging past Hong Kong and New York, according to global property consultancy Knight Frank.

In the first six months, Dubai achieved 79 per cent of the total number of $10 million homes sold in 2022, according to the consultancy.

Dubai emerged as one of the world’s three most attractive cities for the wealthy because of its strategic location, robust infrastructure and economic growth, the media office said on Sunday.

The emirate’s growing attractiveness for wealth owners supports the goal of D33 to increase foreign direct investment inflows "to an annual average of Dh60 billion over the next decade", supported by efforts to nurture investor confidence and further enhance regulatory and legislative frameworks, it added.

Meanwhile, the DFM reached its highest point in nearly eight years last week in a sign of growing investor confidence in the UAE's capital markets amid continued structural reforms and efforts to boost liquidity. The DFM crossed the 3,987 level on July 13, the highest since August 2015, and is up nearly 20 per cent so far this year, beating MSCI World Index’s 12.6 per cent.

“Our economic accomplishments, as well as our future goals, have been shaped by rigorous strategic planning, the exemplary efforts of our institutions, and our remarkable resilience and adeptness in navigating global challenges and the rapidly evolving economic environment.

Leading the charts for the second year running, Dubai was also named the world’s top-ranked destination in Tripadvisor’s Travellers' Choice Awards 2023, the media office said, further contributing to the D33 goal of making Dubai one of the world’s three top destinations for tourism and business.

"Such accomplishments are testament to the trust placed by major investors, international institutions and business leaders in Dubai," Sheikh Hamdan said.

Updated: July 17, 2023, 3:14 AM