Dubai is world's number one destination in 2023, says Tripadvisor

The emirate has been voted the most popular place to visit for the second consecutive year

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Dubai has ranked as the world’s most popular destination for holidaymakers in Tripadvisor’s 2023 Travellers' Choice Awards.

Known for its luxury hotels, record-breaking buildings, traditional souqs and family-friendly attractions, Dubai has retained the title for the second year running.

The annual TripAdvisor awards are based on millions of reviews submitted on the platform by the global travel community.

“Dubai is a destination that mixes modern culture with history, and adventure with world-class shopping and entertainment,” said Tripadvisor. “If you’re looking for thrills, you can float above the desert dunes in a hot-air balloon, climb aboard a high-speed ride at IMG Worlds of Adventure or skydive over the Palm Jumeirah."

This year's winners were selected based on the quality and quantity of ratings from travellers for accommodation, restaurants and things to do in destinations worldwide between November 2021 and October 2022.

The top ranking by global travellers reflects the vision of the leadership to transform Dubai into the world’s top destination for tourism and business, as embodied by a key goal of the Dubai Economic Agenda D33. The Agenda’s objective of consolidating Dubai’s status as one of the world’s top three cities for tourism and business signifies the leadership’s determination to mark Dubai out as a clear leader not only as a leisure and lifestyle destination but also as a hub for connectivity, commerce and investment," said Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai.

"Dubai’s diverse tourism attractions and hospitality offerings, combined with its emergence as a leading venue for global events and a magnet for talent and enterprise will continue to reinforce its status as a favourite among global travellers over the next decade."

The world's second-most popular destination, according to the travel community, was Bali.

The picturesque island destination had a slump in tourism during the pandemic because of strict Covid-19 regulations in place across Indonesia. But the tourism hotspot has recovered well and Tripadvisor called the destination “a living postcard, an Indonesian paradise that feels like a fantasy".

"Soak up the sun on a stretch of fine white sand, or commune with tropical creatures as you dive along coral ridges or the colourful wreck of a WWII warship,” it said.

Bensley Capella BALI

Bali also topped Airbnb's recently released most-searched-for destinations list, with the accommodation platform finding that international travellers were flocking to Kuta on the island's south-western coast.

The UK capital ranked third, and retained the number one spot in Europe. “From Shoreditch’s swaggering style to Camden’s punky vibe and chic Portobello Road, London is many worlds in one," said Tripadvisor. "The city’s energy means that no two days are the same.”

Rome in Italy ranked fourth and the French capital Paris ranked fifth.

Tripadvisor's most popular destinations in 2023

The Trevi Fountain in Rome. Unsplash
  1. Dubai, UAE
  2. Bali, Indonesia
  3. London, UK
  4. Rome, Italy
  5. Paris, France
  6. Cancun, Mexico
  7. Crete, Greece
  8. Marrakesh, Morocco
  9. Dominican Republic
  10. Istanbul, Turkey

“We saw a resurgence of travel demand in 2022, and the outlook for this year is bright,” said Sarah Firshein, head of editorial at Tripadvisor.

“Long-haul trips have made a comeback, and we’re seeing a lot of travellers excited to plan trips to Asia and the Pacific region for the first time in several years. Cities like Paris and London, which may have taken a back seat to less populous destinations throughout the pandemic, are back on travellers' minds, while far-reaching parts of the United States like Alaska and previously restricted countries like Cuba are also piquing a lot of interest.”

Cuba is Tripadvisor's trending destination in 2023

Vintage American cars parked outside Inglaterra Hotel in Havana, Cuba. AFP

The travel website also listed its up-and-coming destinations for this year.

Cuba ranked first in the Trending Destinations category, with the greatest year-on-year growth in interest. “The island offers fascinating opportunities for cultural exchange … and some simply amazing beaches. Havana is a balance of old-world architecture and contemporary nightlife,” said Tripadvisor.

It was followed by Hoi An in Vietnam in second place, and the East African island nation Mauritius, which ranked third. Asia dominated the category, accounting for half of the top 10 spots with Siem Reap, Chiang Mai, Baku and Kathmandu all making it to the top 10 trending destinations list.

Updated: January 19, 2023, 11:22 AM